FASA Winners Kauai Interview

SA Franchise Brands welcomes Guy Le Ray-Cook, Franchise Executive of Kauai.

Firstly Guy, congratulations to you and your team for Kauai winning the 2018 FASA Franchisor, Brand Builder and Field Service Consultant of the Year awards.

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What has been paramount to Kauai’s success?

Since inception, 22 years ago, Kauai has been leading the healthy eating conversation. We’ve remained true to the brands mission– to make healthy eating easy and accessible, and we believe Kauai’s highly differentiated offering in the fast casual dining space has fuelled the brands growth and success. We’ve played to our strengths, continuously innovated and remained relevant as a brand. The growing healthy network of corporate stores and franchisees together with our strategic partnerships have contributed to the brand’s success thus far, and will no doubt shape a very exciting future.

What challenges do you face at present?

Kauai’s recent brand repositioning and the global consumer shift towards health has driven the considerable expansion of the brand. Our challenge is to maintain our leadership and continue the upward trend by working with the right strategic partners to develop our footprint further and build the brand. Part of this lies on ensuring we have the right network of franchisees, with the challenge on our side being to ensure we offer affordable value-driven franchise businesses which generate good return.

With a network of more than 100 stores, how has your franchise model worked in favour of the group?

Kauai’s store footprint spans across 150 stores, of which 80 are franchised. The corporate stores and our franchisees mutually benefit from the robust model in a number of ways. The specialised procurement team negotiates the best prices and service delivery from our suppliers which drives profitability and business growth. Our national foot print has attracted and cemented solid strategic partnerships with Virgin Active, Discovery and Old Mutual which all our stores have benefited from with new customers and incremental sales.

What are some of the attributes required from franchisees?

A Kauai franchisee is a unique individual who has a passion for people, service and healthy living. They are fully immersed in their business: working in the store every day, building their teams, managing their operations efficiently, driving sales and customer service. The most successful franchisees are hands on, and have 50% of the capital requirement unencumbered.

How would you describe the overall relationship between the group and its franchisees?

Post our rebranding, the relationships with franchisees have flourished. They trust our leadership in growing their business and we value their input, which means collectively, everyone drives the brand strategy and standards. It is truly a working franchise group. Our recent three FASA awards and the SA Best Internal Brand Communicator (an EE award) is the result of an entire business on the same mission.


What kind of training and support can franchisees expect?

Franchisees are initially on boarded through a 6-8 week training program on all aspects of running a Kauai franchise, however training and development is ongoing. Franchisees have access to an online training resource portal and our industry specialist trainers facilitate many additional programs throughout the year.

On a quarterly basis, Franchisee’s meet for strategy sessions with the Kauai Exco team, and work very closely with their dedicated Franchise Service Consultants to build and grow their businesses.

Which factors are paramount for sustained future growth within the group with specific reference to its present and future franchisees?

Franchisees will help shape the future of Kauai by driving:

1) Speed of service   2) innovation    3) digitalization.

In a world where instant gratification drives consumer brand choices, speed of service and efficiency lies at the heart of growing our customer base and as a result drives future growth.

Open communication and feedback from Franchisees who are at the coal face with our market are key in driving innovation and more efficient operational and technological development.

Technology is having a profound impact on every retail space. To stay ahead of the curve, Franchisees will need to embrace and participate in our digital evolution, by implementing the tools we create to build the connection between Kauai and our customers (existing and new).

Where to from here and into the future?

For 22 years, Kauai has remained focused on growing the healthy eating market by leading the healthy eating conversation in South Africa. The future is an incredibly exciting one with local growth and expansion on the cards through new stores and alternative channels.

Kauai is born and bred in South Africa, but we believe our unique health proposition is global in appeal. For as long as we continue making healthy eating accessible, Kauai is brand that many more parts of the South Africa and the world, could easily embrace. Finding the right master franchisees will help us reach this dream.

SA Franchise Brands also congratulates the following 2018 FASA winners:

  • Franchisee of the Year Award – Body20, Brooklyn, Pretoria branch
  • Job Creator of the Year Award – KFC
  • Hall of Fame Award – Ian Fuhr – Sorbet


Kevin Antonie


SA Franchise Brands

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