Farewell and thank you to Vera Valasis FASA’s executive director

vera valasis

After fifteen years at the helm of the Franchise Association of South Africa as Executive Director, Vera Valasis has resigned from FASA and is moving on to new challenges. She holds the distinction of being the first woman to hold the position in FASA’s 41-year existence.

Her experience in franchising spans over many years – from her early days managing restaurants and in retailing – to holding the position of managing director for leading brands Milky Lane and Juicy Lucy under the Pleasure Foods banner and subsequently as MD of Debonairs for Famous Brands.

Ian Jacobsberg, one of FASA’s legal advisors and past Chairman, had the pleasure of working with Vera for many years. “I have known Vera for about 23 years, having first worked with her in her capacity as Managing Director of  Milky Lane and Juicy Lucy at Pleasure Foods. Her belief in and dedication to the brands and the products she championed was always an example and an inspiration to everyone she worked with. This passion was carried forward to her position as Executive Director of FASA, where she was always, a strong believer in, and advocate for, the franchising industry – always taking every opportunity to promote its potential as a driver of economic growth and employment with Government, financial institutions and the public.”

Vera’s experience in all aspects of franchising – both from a franchisee and franchisor standpoint – gave her the unique insight to understand franchising in all its complexities. Her work in steering the association through both the good times and in the trying recessionary years is to be lauded.

From lobbying government on the role that franchising can play in furthering entrepreneurship and in job creation to overseeing the promotional activities of FASA which included educational seminars, conferences, awards and exhibitions, Vera was a strong advocate for franchising as a key player in South Africa’s economy.

She represented FASA and South Africa internationally at the annual World Franchise Council meetings ensuring that franchising was recognised as an important contributor not only to the South African economy but represented on the world stage.

The chairman and board of FASA join its members in thanking Vera for her commitment to FASA and wish Vera success in her future endeavours.

Shereen Davids, FASA’s longest serving staff member, will be taking over the role of acting Executive Director. Shereen joined FASA in the early days when it was a fledgling representative body assisting Jack Barber, the executive director at the time, and his successor Nic Louw in growing the association. Over the years, Shereen has managed various key areas within the association – from handling the accounts to being office manager and show manager for FASA’s many franchise expos.

Challenges H20 franchise business experience during lockdown


Many businesses faced some enormous challenges during lockdown.  H20 Water purification is no different.  They experienced a change in customer behaviour when consumers visited their retail outlets in shopping malls and they had to adapt their business model and took their business online.  How did franchisor Tony Marchesini and his franchisees work together to stay in business and keep their doors open.  How did they manage to retain customers and attract new customers to their business?

What challenges did H20 franchisees experience and how did you communicate with your franchisees to keep them motivated?  Listen to this 30 minute interview which is both inspiring and informative.  Apologies for the poor quality streaming in this recording.

Has it been strange for you visiting malls during lockdown?  What’s it been like for you?

H2O International SA (Pty) Ltd

Preparing for recovery


“The Franchise industry will make a faster and better recovery post-Covid-19 than most other business categories.”

With that in mind, the Franchise Association has partnered with the Sunday Times to produce its definitive Franchising print and digi-mag on the 27th September 2020 which will take a closer look at how the franchise sector has fared during this pandemic and why it is poised, as a proven business format, to bounce back and reclaim its position as an important cog in the South African economy – which in 2019 contributed almost 14% to GDP through its over 800 franchise systems and over 47 000 outlets.

Read More

Kauai grows its footprint

Kauai grows its footprint

Franchise group Real Foods is leading the way in post-Covid recovery by diversifying its business, growing its footprint abroad and showing the world that entrepreneurship is alive and well!

The company – which lists Kauai, Nü Health Food Café, Highveld Honey and other food brands in its portfolio – is growing its footprint abroad and has launched two new brands and acquired a food manufacturing business. Dean Kowarski, CEO of Real Foods announced that, “Despite the international lockdown, Kauai is expanding further into Europe under a master territory franchise agreement with Wellness Brands Europe Ltd, and plans to open 20 Kauai fast-casual restaurants over the next three years in the UK. The first restaurant will open next month in Edinburgh with a second soon to follow.”

Read More

The importance of being a Fasa member – now more than ever


Among the sad casualties of Covid-19 have been the many industry associations that have seen a drop in membership due to the economic impact of the pandemic. The franchise sector has been hard hit by lockdown and many fledgling franchise brands may not survive these hard times or be faced with survival challenges or disputes with their franchisees.

It is especially in these hard times that franchise businesses have the support of an industry representative that can guide them, act on their behalf, lobby government and ensure the stability, protection and recovery of this important sector that, in 2019, contributed close to 14% to the country’s GDP, says Eugene Honey, FASA’s legal advisor.

Read More

Franchising adjusting to the new normal


With seemingly no end to the ravages of the corona virus, franchising and businesses across the globe are fighting for their survival and are shifting operations to accommodate an unknown landscape.  Reflecting our own scenario, the Franchise Association in the USA reports that virtually, in every industry, the businesses that survive will have to change the way they operate and interact with consumers.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Corona virus has undoubtedly forced many businesses around the world to rethink operations. For franchise brands in particular, success will require franchisors to support franchisees and customers by pivoting their business models to better suit the changing marketplace.

Read More