Guide to starting a successful kota business

Guide to starting a successful kota business

Starting and running a successful Kota business is not easy. This guide will assist you with all the information you need and help you make good decisions along the way. Almost everyone in South Africa loves a Kota/ Bunny chow. They are sold at almost every township, some call them skhambane, sphahlo or simply a bunny chow. There is a huge demand for this treat in South Africa, let us guide you into starting a successful Kota business.

Is a Kota business profitable?

A kota business can be very lucrative and profitable, profitability will be influenced by factors such as how many Kotas you sell per day and the cost of production for each Kota. Things like transportation costs should be taken into account too.

What do you need to start a Kota business?

Thankfully, starting a Kota business does not require a lot of capital, almost everyone can do it, that is why there are so many Kota shops. You only need operating premises, equipment, a few utilities and stock.

Operating premises

You can operate from a shack, container or a professional space, this depends on where you want your business to be. If you are operating at a township or cbd then a container can work just fine. Any structure will work especially if you are at a township.

If you choose to operate in suburban areas then you have to pay more attention to your operating premises, they have to be professional or at least decent.


You will need a deep fryer for the slap chips, a potato chipper; you can get one from as little as R180; a frying pan and a fridge. That’s pretty much all the basics you need to get started. The frying pan is for frying eggs or sausages if they are included in your kota menu.


Utilities are things you will need to make your kota business run smoothly; these are things like electricity and water.


A traditional Kota usually consists of bread, Chips, Polony, Mangola, Atchar, Vienna, Sausage, Cheese and eggs. A modern kota will include things like lettuce and bacon amongst others. Decide on which ingredients you will use on your kota menu and buy them. Bread and chips cannot be omitted in any kota offering.

Don’t buy these ingredients from huge retail stores, try to get them from wholesalers at lower prices, this can have an impact on your profit.

Setting prices for your Kota menu

Prices should be relative to competitor prices for the most part then add your own special kota and set whatever price you want. This kota is usually big and consists of ingredients that are not found on other kotas in the menu.

Marketing your Kota business

A kota business in a prime location won’t have a problem attracting customers, provided that it’s clearly visible. People won’t know that you are selling kotas if you sell them directly from house, rather setup a shack outside that will be visible to anyone passing by. Other than that; you don’t need much marketing for this business.


This was a detailed guide on how to start and run a successful kota business. Do you have any thoughts or questions? comment below

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This Post Has 49 Comments

  1. This really helped me as I’m looking to start my own Kota business now I have the heads start I’m good to go

    1. We are glad you found this information useful 🙂

      1. Thanks for the info, my business is not doing well. I think it’s lacks creative/strategy and I also think pricing is a problem because it seems I’m not making any profit.

  2. Guys thanks i didn’t know where to start now i can do my own thing thanks a lots you guys are helping

    1. We are so glad you found this information useful, good luck on your journey 🙂

      1. Thank you so much guys,I was just taking chances on the internet to see if I’ll get ideas as to how to begun this business,thanks for the insight.
        I’m good to go now.

  3. So one does not need to register for a Kota business?

    1. It is my understanding that most Kota businesses don’t register as they are part of the informal sector. However, if you are planning to launch your business in a town/suburb and hire people then you might want to look further into regulations. This also goes for Salons I think.

  4. Thanx for helpful info. My kota business will improve I was about to give up.I just need to be discipline.?

    1. What were the challenges that made you to feel like giving up?

    2. Hey can you pls WhatsApp me here,I’ve been trying to sell Kota but I’m not making profit at all..can you give me tips or advice on a few things I can change 0711691926

  5. I wanna start a kota business and it’s hard because I have to go to school but I guess I have to push and schedule everything so I’ll get enough time to do everything
    Thank you.

  6. Hi guys, what about the start up costs. How much does one need to start?

    1. Deep fryer de cheapest is R800 if u cry it can be more cheaper so u actually need atleast R2000 but de deep fryer once is der to stock it cost R450 to start

  7. This is very helpful however you don’t talk about the financials especially costing your food/ingredients. We can’t just set prices based on competitor pricing, we need to know precisely how to cost taking all variables into consideration. A detailed financial structure would be very helpful so that one knows if the business is profitable or not.
    I truly wish we could have something more detailed. Can your offer that?

    1. I think you can take all your running costs like electricity, employee, stock and/or stock and add your mark up then you decide on the price

    2. When they say competitor dey want u to understand de prize dat u will be dealing with coz some area is expensive some areas are cheap. Eg. I sell outside mall my prize is X2 Dan my loxion prize

      1. Are you already in the business?

  8. Yeah this is sooo helpful and uplifting too…❤

  9. Thank you really helpful

  10. the most important thing to remember when starting up a business selling food is hygiene and food safety. This is not something to compromise on. Make sure that your wholesalers always stocks the freshest and not expired or close to expiry date no matter how cheap it might be, because if you prepare food using bad/expired ingredients and your customers end up getting sick you will end up with serious lawsuits. Always prepare food just before serving never re-heat. Preferably when customer places order never prepare in advance and then just heat when you get an order just to save time. Rather politely ask them to wait and explain that all food is prepared fresh on order. Garnishes can be prepped in advance but make sure its temperature controlled/kept in fridge until needed. Clean your surfaces as you work preferably after every order to avoid cross contamination. Store your foods separately in fridge especially when working with meats/polony etc you don’t want to strore your pololy/Vienna’s etc with your cheese/veggies etc. Rather use separate containers for everything. In terms of costing always make sure that your profit is at least 50% of your cost. Always write down everything you buy no matter how small even include cost of tpt to get your goods as well as gas etc. Because at the end of the day you still have to pay for these. Do marketing research. Always get your customers opinion on your product whether good or bad that way you will figure out what they like or dont. Experiment with your menus dont just keep serving the same thing over and over. This will keep them coming back because thats your ultimate goal you want returning customers. Good luck

    1. Hi guys. The info is much appreciated, the 50% of cost for profit is the absolute tip…however I’d like pick your thoughts a bit regarding what the total return should be on a bad of potatoes. Some examples will be super appreciated as well!! Much love!?

  11. Tnks so much for yr help i have clue now i want to start kota business

  12. Thank you so much for ur tips it will help me a lot as I’m busy with chicken dust and I’m as well looking for a place to start a kota business.this will help a lot which bread must I use to prepare a kota?

    1. I prefer pick n pay n baker most soft bread

  13. Thank u very much 4yo guidlines nw tht im glued up i cn start looking 4 a busy coner, shark ,materials & get started

  14. Wow these comments and questions are very helpful, I’ve just started my Kota mince in the township looking into adding more variety to my Manu. I was not too sure about the whole marketing strategy for my business since I’m operating from home. Using my kitchen only is not enough. Sometimes I cook but no sale for the day. I needed this kind of motivation from real people. Thank you

    1. Be visible to the street for those who don’t know dat u selling should see u

  15. Highly Appreaciated guys

  16. Wow…Thnx a lot guys now I’m going 2 start a kota business

  17. Thanks the information was very helpful, but i have one question, do i need to register the kota business before i start?

    1. No you necessarily, especially if you are operating in the township. A kota business falls under the informal sector, registering it is not compulsory.

  18. thank you for your valued info; just want to find out, what is the chemical they use for whitening your not ready-cooked chips so they won’t change color to brown? kindly do advise.

  19. Leave them In water until ready to use.

  20. Is it possible for me to sell alcohol once in a month without license(like a stockvel) just to promote my kota place,if possible where can I get the permission to do so?

    1. I don’t really think that’s possible Sophy, are there people doing it? Yes but is it legal? No, you might want to have a party where there is alcohol then charge people an entrance fee. Technically, that doesn’t count as selling alcohol.

  21. This was so helpful. Thank you very much guys

    1. I am glad you found it helpful 🙂

  22. wow thanks a lot guys i will start mine too your comments thanks for everything guys

  23. The comments are so helpful..but now let’s say your time is occupied at times then you decide to hire someone how do you make sure that they dnt steal from you

  24. Thank you very much you really make it easier as I was trying to figure it out on what is the first step

  25. I need a good person who can make kotas and cook in Roodepoort

  26. am greatful for the guidness .am also wanting to open it this summer

    1. Good luck Sipho 🙂

  27. This is helpful! Thank you very, l have been wishing to start but the venue was the challenge. I will try my lucky at location.

    All the best to everyone.

  28. Thank you guys so much??

  29. So grateful for all the comments you guys have shed a huge light for me, i already have the container i just need the equipment and my stock to kick off. Hygiene was the highlight for me as i also doesn’t like a place that is not hygienic.No matter how nice your food smells i will not buy.So thank you so much all.

  30. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you shared
    this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

  31. Hi I’m Dikeledi I already have a Kota business and I would like to to know that is it possible to get funds from government without VAT no because my shop is too small and I like to create jobs for youth

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