Cape Town – In just a year in the industry, local pizza restaurateurs are determined to fit into the world of well-established pizzeria parlours in the city.
Milo Nkabi and Nokuthula Sigabi are pizza shop owners on the corner of Spine Road and Ngcwalazi Street in Khayelitsha.
What was considered to be the first casual pizza restaurant on a pavement inside a tiny shack, is now a fast-growing food outlet that shows no signs of slowing down.
Now, the burning question is: how is the eatery doing so well in the township?
Today, Sweet & Lovely operates from a small container and is a well-known pizza establishment, and it is common to see people queue for their orders.
The owners are both former employees at a pizza shop in the CBD and have employed several locals in their business. The staff is made up of dough makers, kitchen cleaners, waiters and bakers.
Outside the container is a mobile oven, where the pizza is baked. “All I wanted was an oven, and the rest will all come,” said Nkabi, while taking orders from customers.
“I spent some years baking pizza at a restaurant in town. I felt this can also mean business for me so why not start my own business?
“I therefore teamed up with my partner who also worked there, and we both decided to start our own restaurant with our pension,” he added.
On the menu is a scrumptious pizza known as Khayelitsha, which is made up of beef, fresh tomato, onion, green pepper, and mushroom toppings, and is the most popular choice in the township. Another favourite is the Cape Town, which is a mixture of mushroom, onion, pineapple, chicken, mince and steak.
Sweet & Lovely is selling pizzas at R55 and R60 for small sizes, and R100 and R110 for large varieties depending on the ingredients. Nkabi said that because the business is expanding, they are now planning to open a third branch in Harare.
“We have now opened a second branch in Site C and we looking forward to setting up a third one in Harare.
“Our aim is to reach all customers all around the area before we can venture outside to other areas around Cape Town,” he said.
“I am happy because this has created jobs, especially for the youth. In both branches we have 14 staff members now, and we are going to grow.
“People don’t have to go to town to buy pizza, that was the purpose of setting up this restaurant,” Nkabi said. “There are a lot of people coming here, most people like the Khayelitsha and the Cape Town design”.
Lungile Siwephu, a regular customer, said: “This business was slow at the beginning, but now it’s growing daily. In the past, we wouldn’t stand in the queue and wait for the orders, but now people come in numbers.
“It’s good that we have a pizza restaurant on our doorstep, that we don’t have to drive outside Khayelitsha.”