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Pick n Pay flies the flag for their franchisees

Pick n Pay flies the flag for their franchisees

In the 1990’s, when Pick n Pay first started franchising, there were two myths about franchising; one, that a big corporation does not make a good franchise; and two, that it is virtually impossible to franchise a business that deals in low-margin items. Raymond Ackerman, in setting up his first franchise in 1993, dispelled that myth and proved that a retailer in the supermarket sector can franchise successfully and that a large corporation can be an outstanding franchisor. What he also proved was that the success or otherwise of a company wishing to become a franchisor depends less on the supermarket sector and more on management’s willingness to approach the issue with integrity.

Behind the success of the Pick ‘n Pay brand and specifically of its franchise division lies the company’s unwavering commitment to the development of entrepreneurial talent and enterprise creation, which over the years spread from giving franchise opportunities to people from all walks of life to doing the same in the supply chain through local suppliers and through community involvement. In paying tribute to Raymond Ackerman on his passing, in September, franchise stalwart Eric Parker was quoted as saying, “there is no question that Raymond Ackerman succeeded in keeping a strong entrepreneurial spirit alive and contributed to the success of franchising in South Africa today. He believed that franchisees needed to be hand-picked to ensure a good culture fit and painstakingly groomed for success entrenching the win/win formula so fundamental in franchising.”

Today, nearly half of Pick n Pay stores in South Africa (excluding Boxer) are owned and run by franchisees. This large footprint emphasizes the important role these stores play in serving Pick n Pay customers in hundreds of communities nationwide.

PicknPayPick n Pay’s army of franchisees sees the future of retail

The story of franchise stores began in 1993 when the first Pick n Pay Family Store opened in Westville, Durban. Founder Raymond Ackerman saw the opportunity in the supermarket sector for a retailer to successfully franchise stores to create more employment and bring its services into the very heart of communities.

Today, franchisees operate over 420 grocery outlets nationwide, with liquor and clothing in their offering, providing business opportunities to hundreds of entrepreneurs.

After upgrades at 131 mainly corporate stores by the end of February 2023, the franchise operation is gearing itself up for significant revamps over the next two years to improve its offering to customers in local neighbourhoods across the country.

Modernisation drive for the future

As Pick n Pay rolls out its Ekuseni long-term strategy announced in May 2022, the franchise stores are beginning to feel the benefits of this group-wide modernisation drive: 35 franchisees have switched to the new QualiSave banner which serves customers in lower to middle-income communities, and they are thriving. The company is providing franchisees with the data they require to make key decisions about driving their growth and profit margins, be it under the Pick n Pay or QualiSave banner.

Franchisees at Pick n Pay have a great deal of latitude to choose what products they stock, meaning they can tailor their offerings to the specific needs of communities. Pick n Pay recognises this as a key strength, and it has introduced an app that will help to develop this potential – putting suppliers and franchisees in direct contact, and the beneficiaries are customers. For example, if customers ask their store manager for more vegan, vegetarian or free-range products, the franchisee can use the app to find suppliers able to meet the needs quickly and directly.

Under the leadership of group executive Franchise Nelia Kirsch, who marks 18 months in the role in October, this is just one of the innovations Pick n Pay has introduced to recognise and support franchisees.

At their recent conference, Kirsch said the franchise division’s success was built on Raymond Ackerman’s “unwavering commitment” to the development of entrepreneurial talent and enterprise creation.

Over the years, she said, this had given the company’s franchise community “the incredible opportunity to become part of this business and build your own personal wealth and success”.