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.”
The Kauai Thailand business opened its second location during lockdown, a dark kitchen focused on deliveries. Its first store, inside a Virgin Active health club, has reopened and both locations are growing week on week, according to a statement by Real Foods Group. New retail locations in Bangkok are also being sought for further expansion. Kauai’s first European store in the Netherlands (inside Utrecht Centraal Station) has also reopened.
Locally, Real Foods launched Free Bird, a free-range crispy chicken burger concept. Free Bird is initially trading as a virtual brand in dark kitchens around Cape Town, Sandton and Pretoria available via UberEats and Mr D with plans for physical retail locations over the coming months.
A new addition to the Real Foods stable is Uber Nutrition, a private label snack bar development and manufacturing company. “Uber Nutrition produces bars for several leading SA brands, and is known for its highly innovative and healthy approach to ‘on the go’ food bar development. The acquisition complements Real Foods’ philosophy of providing clean, healthy food on the go, and also deepens opportunities for the group in the attractive, fast-growing, ready-to-eat snack category,” says Real Foods.
During lockdown, Real Foods’ bakery business, Schoon, was able to quickly pivot its business model to offer home delivery of its freshly baked breads and pastries. As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, Schoon has resumed take-away orders, bread and pastry sales through its cafes, and is working with Checkers to resume the roll-out of its bread and pastries in stores. Schoon also embarked on a new partnership with UCook in its weekly market boxes and recipe boxes.
During the initial Level 5 lockdown, Real Foods saw the need to help customers remain healthy at home by offering convenient and healthy ready-to-eat meals and giving customers access to a healthy pantry online. The team created the concept of Kauai Real Foods Market, offering its healthy and convenient snack range, Pick n Pay frozen meal range and other pantry staples available via UberEats and Mr D.
When stores reopened with contactless pick-up and payment via the Kauai app for deliveries and takeaways, Kauai Real Foods Market expanded to additional Kauai stores, and further product development is underway.
“It’s been a challenging few months, but we have reacted quickly and in step with government’s guidelines, to find new routes to market to serve our customers, and have launched exciting new products and brands that have been well received. The various teams have also continued to work throughout lockdown on building a pipeline of projects that will be rolling out in the second half of the year,” concludes Kowarski.