From muffins to more, entrepreneur opens up about braving multiple obstacles to start food company

Morero Nhlanhla Moloi. Picture: Supplied

Morero Nhlanhla Moloi. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 24, 2024


In 2020, Morero Nhlanhla Moloi had a lot on his plate. Despite facing personal challenges with dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he was able to establish his own food business, McMore International, which specialises in making premium quality muffins.

Affectionately known as “The Muffin Man”, Nhlanhla Moloi is a determined and charismatic entrepreneur from Soweto in Johannesburg and is making waves in the franchising industry, having started from humble beginnings in a back room at his great-grandmother's house.

He was inspired by his grandmother, who was a street vendor, and the teachings and books by Dr Myles Munroe.

“I spent most of my years in entrepreneurship as a serial entrepreneur. My journey was very much selfish, if I may say so myself. I was not feeling fulfilled, no matter how well I did,” Nhlanhla Moloi said.

“This changed the moment I decided to venture into what was more of a calling. I felt that I was always called to change the lives of others. When I discovered what social entrepreneurship entailed, I immediately changed my course in life.

“I had always thought about starting my own franchising company but I did not have a clue about what I would franchise. I had a serious love for baked goods. Muffins to be specific, and cheesecakes.

“This social entrepreneurship drive was driven by things in my past. My grandmother was a street vendor and I could never disassociate myself from street vendors as a result.

“Combining my dream to own a franchising company, my love for food and the constant reminder that I grew up technically as a street vendor through always being with my grandmother in my childhood days, I decided I would use all this to venture into becoming a social entrepreneur,” he shared.

The entrepreneur continued: “I would then start a food production factory and sell franchising rights to sell my muffins and change the world of entrepreneurship.

“The company was at the ideation stage since 2011. I registered it only in 2016 and started buying equipment, speaking to graphic designers, accountants and franchising experts.

“It was only in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic and after seeing my main businesses collapse, that we decided to officially start with baking trials and putting the muffins on the market, as well as selling micro franchising opportunities to the potential franchises.”

Morero Nhlanhla Moloi. Picture: Supplied

Some of Nhlanhla Moloi’s greatest challenges with his business included navigating the strict regulations of the food industry and tackling the tough competition from industry giants.

After reading a newspaper article about the transformative impact the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme had on a bakery in KwaZulu-Natal, he applied to join the programme.

The foundation became his accountability partner, providing invaluable support and a grant that enabled him to expand his business operations. Throughout the programme, his business experienced remarkable growth.

Nhlanhla Moloi said the journey has been a roller-coaster ride.

“It has been fun at times and testing at most times. Changing the world is not an easy thing and that is why most people choose not to do it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. However, I think this is the best time to do it.

“It is the craziest journey one can embark on and is filled with wonderful moments as well as some tough challenges.”

With plans to launch nationally and internationally, his business is making great strides by supplying private hospital groups, selected SuperSpars and others.

He is focusing on adding more product ranges such as gluten-free muffins, biscuits, noodles, juices, water, rusks, energy drinks and wraps.

On the corporate side, the business is working on opening factories in the US and the Netherlands.