290114 Berger King outlet in Johannesburg park station,(left) Thabang Moleko,Katleho Mogale employee.Photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Burger King has opened its first meat manufacturing plant in South Africa, which will assist the US-based hamburger franchise with its plans to pursue rapid expansion locally and in the rest of Africa.

The American fast food chain has entered into a R50 million joint venture with local meat processor and distributor Excellent Meat to build a new facility at Elsies River in Cape Town, where 700 000 patties will be produced monthly.

Burger King has partnered with gaming group Grand Parade Investments to roll out stores. In its first year in South Africa, it has opened 12 outlets.

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

Excellent Meat is a 44-year-old family business.

Burger King South Africa chief executive Jaye Sinclair said the joint venture with a trusted and vetted supplier was critical to support the company’s national supply chain roll-out.

“Growth investment into local business is important to Burger King’s expansion plans to remain the leading quick service restaurant chain in the country.

“With this in mind, we have partnered with a strong business, with whom we’ve had a solid business relationship since our inception.”

Burger King plans to source the majority of its ingredients from local suppliers.

By year-end it aims to ensure that more than 92 percent of its products are produced locally.

Burger King SA chairman Hassen Adams added that the decision to partner with Excellent Meat was based on the its impeccable reputation in the industry.

“We are also confident that this expansion at Excellent Meat will create many opportunities in this particular area as the plant will create 60 tons to 70 tons of meat products a month which translates to about 700 000 patties on a monthly basis.”

By 2015, the plant would be able to produce 3 million beef patties a month.

“In addition to this joint venture, we are in the middle of completing equipment installation with Rainbow Chicken to provide us with the [meat to satisfy] fast-growing demand for chicken burgers.”

The chain has also established a strong relationship with leading bakery East Balt and chip supplier McCain South Africa.

The initiative will serve as a base to manufacture all Burger King’s 100 percent pure beef patties, according to the chain’s specifications.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said: “Service sectors are more solidly rooted and have much higher growth potential if they are related to the manufacturing company providing their goods.

“Agro-processing plays a significant role in South Africa’s economy in terms of job creation and sustainability.”