How to start a takeaway business in South Africa

How to start a takeaway business in South Africa

The takeaway business is one of the profitable and fulfilling businesses that you can start. People with these businesses report having a lot of fun in their work even though it is hard work. This is a guide on how to start a takeaway business in South Africa.

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We live in a very fast paced world, people barely have time to cook, takeaways are just so convenient for many of us. The demand for takeaways and ready to eat snacks is likely to increase within the next few years.

The barriers to entry to this business are relative, they can be low and can also be high. It really depends on what you are offering and how you want to structure your business. On the lower end, you can start this business with just a few thousands, maybe less than R5 000 but can cost over R50 000 on the higher end.

Choose your target market

You have to decide on who you want to sell your takeaways to, there are a lot of options. The focus can be on selling to workers or school kids or the public in general. It’s often great to target the general public or workers of a big company, especially if it’s in a remote place.

When targeting workers; you have to find a big company, one that employs a lot of people then set up your takeaway stand just outside. A lot of these people will buy their lunch from you, this has worked so well for one of the people I know, he couldn’t keep up with the demand.

The food you sell should be food that is closer to home cooked meals, especially if you are targeting employees. Another option is selling to students, mostly university students, this can work but requires a lot of effort. There is a lot you will go through before the campus allows you to sell to their students. Most entrepreneurs prefer to sell to the general public.

Choose the right location

The location of your choice will be influenced by your target market but it’s important to make sure that you are in the right location. Takeaway businesses rely mostly on foot traffic to get customers. It’s super important to make sure that you are in a location with a lot of people.

These should be people who would need takeaways, the town is the best place to set up a takeaway business. There will constantly be new people every day and you will hit two birds with one stone. You will sell to people who work at the offices and people who go to town for their shopping.

Decide on the operating premises

You can operate your business from a container, a truck or a shop. There are a lot of options that you have when deciding on operating premises. If you are in a town then it’s best to sell from a container, it will be much cheaper than paying rent for a shop. Unless you want people to sit down and eat.

Registering your business

A takeaway business can operate as part of the informal sector, which means it’s not compulsory to register it. But you will have to register it if you want to sell your takeaways in a town or suburban areas. This is because you might have to deal with zoning laws, it’s also much easier to get tenders when your business is registered.

Design your menu

You can sell virtually anything but people like certain foods more than others. It’s best to make sure that your menu has meat and a lot of it. Cook different kinds of meat and prepare it in different ways, add other things like rice, vegetables and salads. Prepare your takeaways in such a way that a person would feel like they’re eating a home cooked meal.


Don’t underprice yourself, you should aim to maintain a profit margin of at least 20%. This means that after you have subtracted the money for buying goods that are necessary to prepare meals, paid rent and other expenses; you should make a profit of 20% at the very least.


This is a step-by-step guide on how to start a takeaway business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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