- Sit-down and take-away meals were not allowed for many weeks during the national lockdown.
- This has created a big demand for food delivery services - but the mainstream apps are not available in SA's townships.
- A number of apps have been launched by young entrepreneurs who see a big demand in this market.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za
Restrictions introduced during South Africa's unprecedented lockdown to fight the novel coronavirus have highlighted a serious gap in the food deliveries market, with mostly township areas excluded completely from more mainstream services.
Last month, Business Insider found that none of the mainstream apps deliver fast food in many of South Africa’s bigger townships.
READ We tested food apps in the townships, and you still can’t get Uber Eats or Bolt to deliver
Bolt Food, for example, told Business Insider that it would only expand to areas when there's enough demand for its service.
But Reneilwe Aphane, founder of KasiMenu – an app-based food delivery service which was launched in 2018 – says there is no shortage of demand for fast-food deliveries in the townships.
Aphane delivers for seven restaurants across the biggest township in Pretoria, Soshanguve, and has over 2,000 active customers daily in Soweto, parts of Mabopane and Garankuwa.
“There is definitely a market within townships.” The 30-year-old hopes people will continue to use their services even after the lockdown.
Lerato Lufuno Monguni, the COO of White Fox, another township food delivery app operating in Soweto and the Vaal, says townships are “a market that hasn’t been tapped into”. She says White Fox is partnering with food outlets which the popular delivery services would never consider.
“You get places in Soweto which are known for inyama ye nhloko (sheep/cow’s head) or known for the best kota and you get someone (going) all the way from Dobsonville to Chiavelo for kota.”
While White Fox also delivers for Pick n Pay and pizza outlets, it also focuses on township food.
Another food delivery app, Order Kasi, was launched expressly because of its founder’s love for these meals.
"I stay in Nyanga [a township in Cape Town] and I would crave dishes from venues around the townships but it would be a mission to get to them especially without a car,” says Leon Qwabe. “When I then started looking into it (in 2018), I found that such a service did not exist at all.”
"I started speaking to (eateries) and the overwhelming feedback showed how much they need a service to reach a bigger market, from there I decided just to get started with it," said Qwabe.
The fast food delivery service started in Khayelitsha and has since expanded into Langa, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Kuils River, Mfuleni and Paarl.
His current plans include branching out into other Johannesburg and Durban townships. The company recently closed a deal which will allow them to deliver groceries, meat and alcohol.
One of the main challenges with setting up a township deliveries is addresses - some may be difficult to find with conventional mapping systems.
“This is why you have to get in contact with people who already know the area you’re working in,” says Aphane. The people who we are working with know their way around the neighbourhood,” he said.
“There is a lot of money in the township, it’s just a matter of finding ways to develop the township economy”, said Monguni, adding that the lack of access to such services is what drives people out of the townships.