YAKANANI FRESH FOODS
Busisiwe Madyolo, the founder and owner of Yakanani Fresh Foods, is a 36 year old lady who hails from Engcobo, (Mthatha) in the Eastern Cape. She is one of six siblings and was raised by a single mother. Her mother owns a grocery and hardware store and she assisted her mother in the shop since childhood where her entrepreneurial flair developed. She completed her formal schooling although she failed her Matriculation examination. She is a single mother of three children aged nine, six and four.
Her employment history includes six months as a private security officer and one year as a waitress/cashier at a McDonald’s outlet, She left both jobs as they both required long hours and this did not create an environment conducive for raising young children. The other reason was the fact that both jobs required considerable travel and she ended up spending a substantial amount of her earnings on transport money. This led to the birth of the idea of starting her own business. Busisiwe is a sole breadwinner and in addition assists in supporting her two sisters, who are both unemployed, and their families.
From young adulthood, Busisiwe was keenly aware of her cooking and baking abilities. lt was a natural choice to start a business that entailed cooking and selling food items to school children and the community. Yakanani was started four years ago but it was only a year and a half ago that Busisiwe became fully committed to the business. Busisiwe recognised that she lacked the basic skills in running a business and enrolled for three different courses in an endeavour to improve her business acumen. She has completed the following courses: Business Management & Financial Literacy (through the Thuthuwa Foundation), Managing Money and How to Win Sales (both courses were done through the Business Place).
Yakanani food is currently a vetkoek business with plans to expand into muffins, home- made pies and pizzas. Busisiwe makes vetkoek from her household kitchen and sells these to learners at a nearby primary school during the week, and over weekends she sells at the taxi-rank or at the stadium if there are sporting activities. The vetkoek are sold plain or with fillings (chicken liver, viennas, polony or russian sausages) at different prices. According to Busisiwe, her vetkoek’s special attributes are the size, consistency, taste and price. Busisiwe sells with other hawkers at the school and concedes that the other women are able to sell their vetkoek after her daily stock runs out.
All the hawkers at the school sell their plain vetkoek at two Rand each. Her vetkoek is the best tasting and bigger in size and light in consistency thus with less oil compared to those of her competitors. She uses a basic plastic sandwich packaging for her vetkoek. There is currently no formal branding in place but Busisiwe believes she represents the Yakanani brand. There is no marketing or advertising albeit a board at Busisiwe’s house. Marketing is through word of mouth from customers who refer prospective clients based on the attributes of the vetkoek highlighted above.
Yakanani is a low margin high volume business. In order to increase revenue, Busisiwe needs to increase her capacity to produce more vetkoek. Her customers are mainly school children looking for a tasty and convenient lunch snack at a low and affordable price. Her stall is located outside the school gate and this is convenient for the school children as their lunch break is thirty minutes long.
There is an opportunity to grow into other schools and the local taxi rank but she is limited by her current capacity. The barriers to entry in this market are low, as her requirements in terms of equipment will not increase substantially but should she expand she will need assistance in the kitchen and a sales force to sell at other nearby schools. The environment is highly competitive as there are a number of hawkers selling vetkoek. There are no switching costs for customers, and customer loyalty is a product of consistent tasty and affordable vetkoek.
Busisiwe’s target market is school learners with a potential of expanding into the community. This is a sizeable market and represents a substantial opportunity for growth and thus an increase in profitability. Her financial overheads are currently quite low: Should she expand the business her current kitchen space will not cope with the new demand and she will thus need a bigger preparation space. To keep up with the growth in demand, Busisiwe will need to hire an assistant in the kitchen and staff to man the stalls at the other schools. The additional staff will invariably increase her cost of production.
Busisiwe is an energetic, disciplined and driven individual. This is evidenced by her commitment to aerobics, netball and other sporting codes. She is highly organized and hard working. She starts her day off very early and ends it quite late enabling her to cater for the business needs and the needs of her young family. As the business grows there is a risk that it will take a toll on her as it seems she is significantly over-stretched. She has attributes of an entrepreneur and the fact that she was raised by an entrepreneurial mother enhances her skills positively