Burger King will have 14 branches by the time it marks its first year in South Africa next month. The US franchise will open its first outlet in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, at The Pavilion shopping centre in Durban. Photo: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg - Burger King has surpassed its own expectations by opening more outlets than anticipated before its first anniversary in South Africa.

The American fast food chain has partnered with gaming firm Grand Parade Investments to roll out stores.

When the first Burger King outlet opened in Cape Town in May last year, the company promised to open 12 stores during its first year in the country.

“We have exceeded that number. We will be having about 14 stores before May,” Jaye Sinclair, the chief executive of Burger King in South Africa, said on Friday.

It competes with Steers, Wimpy, KFC and McDonald’s.

The company will open its first outlet in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, at The Pavilion shopping centre in Durban.

Sinclair said the group was still looking for other suitable sites in the province.

The Pavilion had ticked all the right boxes. “We found a leasing opportunity that met all our criteria.”

Several locations were under construction in the province, where Burger King expected to open more outlets.

Challenges in finding the perfect retail space varied according to the different types of store, Sinclair said.

There was a lot of red tape when it came to drive-in stores with regard to zoning and traffic studies around the site.

“But if you look at retail sites in shopping centres, we are finding it fairly easy to get in because the brand carries great weight behind it [and] a lot of landlords want it.”

The 14 stores excluded the Burger King on the forecourt at a Sasol petrol station in Pretoria. “We have opened one forecourt store and we are preparing to open a second one soon.”

Burger King was also evaluating the possibilities of opening branches outside South Africa, he said. “However, we do not want to move faster than our supply chain and our logistics can stretch.”

At present, the focus would still be in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. But depending on the opportunities presented by real estate and landlord offers, it would definitely move into other provinces, Sinclair added. - Business Report