Mohammed Matwadia has filled the role of King Pie CFO for just over seven years. He has worked in the FMCG industry, and in food services particularly, for most of his career. A chartered accountant by training, Mohammed notes that the role of a CFO has changed from just being a number-cruncher to really being part of the business and providing strategic, tactical and operational direction on a daily basis.
‘I enjoy working with a business that provides great products and service and delights its customers every single day’, he says.
Mohammed recognises that people enjoy food and that eating is one of the great pleasures of life! Understanding this simple truth is fundamental to helping a QSR brand like King Pie meet the requirements of its customers and keep them coming back for more.
Speaking about the challenges facing QSR brands in South Africa, Mohammed lists the weak economic environment, high interest rates and input costs, loadshedding and water shortages, and consumers who are under financial strain. It’s against this backdrop, he says, that businesses must become adaptable and really up their game.
‘It’s very important to become more agile. We need to have contingency plans, and contingency plans for our contingency plans to counter the many headwinds we might face.’
With a network of over 300 stores in South Africa and over 40 stores in neighbouring countries, it’s crucial that King Pie can provide products and services to its franchise partners without interruption.
King Pie HQ provides a complete range of services to support franchise partners. Supply chain and procurement are part of these services. The in-house supply chain department manages all buying to ensure that ingredients are sourced at the highest quality and at the most cost-effective prices. This keeps product costs down and allows King Pie to supply its franchise partners with products at competitive prices that ultimately maintain affordability for the customer.
Mohammed says that value is top of mind for everyone at King Pie. Product assessments and menu innovation is an ongoing task to ensure that the customer is always delighted. He highlights the King Pie loyalty programme, Royal Rewards, as an offer that has greatly assisted King Pie in making good on its value promise. Royal Rewards members receive discounts on their purchases as well as free pies. Mohammed adds that, in addition to quality and freshness, the food weight provided by King Pie for the price paid compares extremely favourably on a like-for-like basis with other QSR brands.
On the franchise side, King Pie has an operational team managed by an operational executive and a group of franchise managers who handle the needs and expectations of franchisees.
‘We are alert to the needs of our franchise partners and respond accordingly. Based on the information we receive from the operational team, we develop strategies and tactics to fulfil those needs and expectations. Moreover, we have a strong marketing strategy in place to get consumers into stores, and we help franchisees to provide a great in-store experience that has made King Pie synonymous with good service. We also run regular national promotions that keep us top of mind among consumers.’
King Pie is an established market leader in the QSR pie category and enjoys very strong brand loyalty. Mohammed says that this is not taken for granted. He shares that the menu offering is continuously assessed to ensure that it’s appealing to a broad customer base with many different taste profiles. The company also conducts regular store reviews to assess how stores are performing. If intervention is required, the company is always ready to assist.
‘It’s important for us to provide this support and honour our commitment to our franchise partners to building sustainable and successful businesses.’
Mohammed is positive about the franchising prospects in 2024, noting that King Pie has a growing footprint. It remains one of the most affordable food franchises in South Africa. King Pie offers different outlet formats suitable for different locations and spaces and the setup costs are relatively low when compared to other QSR brands. Products are supplied directly to the retail location and no further production is required after delivery.
‘We are very confident about the return on investment that our franchise partners can expect’, Mohammed says. ‘We look forward to another great year of working with our franchise partners and also look forward to welcoming new franchise partners into the business.’