A lot of people love magwinya in South Africa. Most of us really love them, in some places they are called fat cakes and in some they are called vetkoeks. Selling fat cakes can be a very lucrative and profitable business if you get just a few things right. I used to work at a shop selling magwinya at Matatiele for a few months. The business was situated in town where rent was expensive yet the money generated from selling vetkoeks was enough to pay the rent, operating expenses and salaries of 3 people working there. This is a guide on how to start a magwinya business.
What I realised working there is that a magwinya business can actually be very profitable and be a reliable source of income. I would argue that it’s more or less the same as selling burgers or hot dogs. That’s because a lot of people who bought our vetkoeks didn’t just buy one vetkoek by a lot of them, they usually amount to R15 per customer with a bit of addons like polony and Chips.
1) Find a suitable location
The success of a magwinya business is highly dependent on its location, you have to be where a lot of new people are passing by. It has to be a really busy space. If you are in a township then try to sell at an area where you know a lot of people pass by in the morning and later when coming back from school or work. You won’t really do well if you are in a quiet location.
2) Get the necessary equipment
Thankfully, you don’t need heavy equipment to start a magwinya business, remember you can make vetkoeks from your own house. All you need is a stove, a fryer and just a few things. Your ingredients will be flour, sugar, yeast among others.
Your operating premises should be very clean and appealing. A lot of people will still by from you even if your area has a questionable hygiene but if you will also rob yourself money from people who won’t buy because of the hygiene.
How much should you charge for one vetkoek? Some people charge one Rands, some charge R5, it all depends on the size of the fat cake and where you are selling it. If you are selling at town then R3 or just R2,50 is the sweet spot, make it possible for people to buy more than vetkoek with R5. R1 vetkoeks are usually very tiny.
With these extras you can potentially make around R3 000 a day from selling vetkoeks. These are Chips, Cheese, Vienna, Russians and some cool drink. Some people don’t like eating plain vetkoeks so they like to mix them up with other things for a better taste. These things go really well with a vetkoek business and will earn you extra income.
6) Be creative
You can expand your business by being creative, there is a restaurant that sells a vetkoek for R130, guess what? People are buying it because it has a lot of meat inside, that vetkoek is so big that if you finish it within 30 minutes then you don’t have to pay for it. This has led many people going into that restaurant trying their luck, most don’t finish it within 30 minutes. It’s a creative way to get people to know about your business.