The Future of Food Franchising: Predictions For The Next Decade


Food franchising in South Africa has always been a dynamic and evolving industry. As we look ahead to the next decade, it’s clear that several trends and innovations will shape the future of food franchising in our country. From technological advancements to shifts in consumer preferences, here are some exciting predictions and projections for the future of food franchising in South Africa.

1. Embracing Technology: The Rise of Smart Kitchens

Technology integration into food franchises will continue to grow, leading to the rise of smart kitchens. These kitchens will have advanced appliances and IoT devices that streamline operations, reduce waste, and ensure consistent food quality. Imagine ordering your favourite meal from a franchise and having it prepared by robots and AI-driven systems, ensuring precision and speed. Automatic espresso machines are already available, reducing the need for specialised baristas.

2. Sustainability as a Core Value

Sustainability will no longer be just a buzzword but a core value for food franchises. South African consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, and franchises must adapt by offering sustainable packaging, sourcing locally, and reducing their carbon footprint. Expect to see more plant-based menu options and a focus on zero-waste initiatives.

3. Personalised Dining Experiences

The next decade will see a significant shift towards personalised dining experiences. With the help of data analytics and customer feedback, food franchises will tailor their menus and services to meet individual preferences. This could mean customised meal plans, loyalty programmes with personalised rewards, and even AI-powered recommendations based on previous orders. AI-based customisation is already evident in delivery apps like Uber Eats, which records prior orders and makes recommendations based on that.

4. Expansion of Ghost Kitchens

Ghost kitchens, also known as dark kitchens or cloud kitchens, will become more prevalent. These kitchens operate solely for delivery and takeout, eliminating the need for a traditional dine-in space. This model allows franchises to expand their reach with lower overhead costs. In South Africa, we can expect to see more ghost kitchens popping up in urban areas, catering to the growing demand for convenience.

5. Health and Wellness Focus

Health and wellness trends will continue to influence food franchising. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious, seeking out nutritious and wholesome options. Franchises must adapt by offering menus catering to various dietary needs, such as gluten-free, keto, and vegan options. Look out for franchises partnering with nutritionists to create balanced, health-focused meals.

6. Cultural Fusion and Local Flavours

South Africa’s rich cultural diversity will play a significant role in shaping the future of food franchising. More franchises will embrace cultural fusion, incorporating local flavours and traditional dishes into their menus. Kota Spot is a prime example of this trend. 

7. Enhanced Customer Engagement through Social Media

Social media will continue to be a powerful tool for customer engagement. Franchises will leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to connect with their audience, showcase new menu items, and run interactive campaigns. Expect more user-generated content, influencer collaborations, and events that unite the community. Franchises like Plato Coffee cater to community events such as local running events and encourage participants to meet at Plato after their run. These events generate additional social media coverage for the brand.

8. Innovative Delivery Solutions

With the rise of e-commerce and on-demand services, innovative delivery solutions will become a staple in food franchising. From drone deliveries to autonomous delivery vehicles, franchises will explore new ways to get food to customers quickly and efficiently. In urban areas, we might even see the emergence of delivery hubs where customers can pick up their orders at their convenience.

9. Community-Centric Franchises

Finally, the next decade will see a rise in community-centric franchises. These franchises will focus on giving back to the community through local sourcing, supporting local charities, or creating job opportunities. This approach will resonate with South African consumers who value social responsibility and community involvement. All kiddies’ meals ordered at Spur contribute a portion to the Spur Foundation, which helps vulnerable families with early childhood development initiatives. KFC famously runs the “Add Hope” campaign, where consumers can make a R2 contribution to help feed vulnerable children. 


The future of food franchising in South Africa is bright and full of potential. As franchises adapt to new trends and consumer demands, they will thrive and contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive, and innovative food industry. 

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