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The Top 10 Most Successful Franchises in South Africa 2024

If you're thinking of investing in a franchise in South Africa, you might be wondering which are the most successful. In this article we take a deep dive into some industry giants as well as up-and-coming stars.

What are the top 10 most successful franchises in South Africa 2024? From having the most franchise locations to enjoying the highest per-store turnover, there are lots of metrics we can use to find the best South African franchise.

The key is getting your entrepreneurial mind engaged when considering franchise opportunities in South Africa – what can we learn from our well-known South African brands?

What defines a successful franchise in South Africa?

There's an online video of a young Jeff Bezos sharing why he decided to leave his job as a hedge fund manager to start Amazon. He read a "startling statistic" that e-commerce was growing 2300% each year, and so reckoned any online business in the context of such growth made a lot of sense. He started with books as there was such a wide variety – and the rest is billionaire history!

With that insight in mind, we have selected our top 10 best South African franchises in terms of market share, based on The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA)'s independent franchise survey of 2023. The estimated turnover generated by SA franchises for 2023 was R999 billion – so the good news is that franchise business is booming!

We have featured South African brands in each category that might appeal to prospective ZA franchisors looking for the most profitable business in South Africa. For more information, you can also read our Guide to Choosing a Franchise in South Africa.

The Top 10 Most Successful Franchises in South Africa 2024

chicken licken

1) Chicken Licken

Voted Loeries 2023 Brand of the Year for the seventh year running, Chicken Licken® is the Soul Food of choice. Chicken Licken® takes a royalty fee (6%) and advertising share (6%) that account for 12% of the franchise’s turnover – so as a franchisor, you want the assurance that you're getting bang for your advertising buck.

With fast food restaurants making up 19% of the SA 'franchising pie', there's a lot of competition and, with its clever ads, Chicken Licken® knows how to stand out from the crowd.

There are also increasing franchise opportunities in busy metropolitan areas with high footfall. Fred Makgato, FASA’s CEO, says: "23% of franchises are now operating in townships – which opens up a whole new untapped market."

Buying a Chicken Licken® store will set you back R4.8 million, with an initial franchise fee of R180K. They have nearly 300 stores nationwide with an estimated annual revenue of around R2 million per store. That means you could start to see a return on your investment in just a few years.

Chicken Licken® doesn't provide finance, but they do have a franchise portal that will get you a foot in the door if you are serious. Other finger-licking good franchises are notoriously more difficult to buy as they first offer new franchises to existing franchise owners.

Pick n pay

2) Pick n Pay

With retail making up 17% of SA’s franchising pie, Pick n Pay stands proud in this industry with over 747 franchised stores including supermarkets, express, clothing and liquor stores.

Pick n Pay is renowned for its strong brand presence, wide product range, competitive pricing, and customer service. Innovations such as the QualiSave banner, which serves customers in lower to middle-income communities, as well as their online shopping and loyalty programs, are also a big success.

As a potential franchisor looking to make enquiries, you can take comfort in knowing that Pick n Pay is arguably the best South African franchise from a cultural perspective.

The biggest selling point about franchises like theirs is that they have been around long enough to deal with a particular problem before. Established systems and Standard Operating Procedures ("what to do when XYZ happens") help the new franchisor feel 'held' as they start their new business.


3) Build It

With building, office, and home services franchises making up 12% of SA’s franchise market share, Build it is the fastest-growing hardware and building materials group in Southern Africa with 397 stores and counting.

Income from building services rendered in 2020 was a whopping R406 billion, indicating that SA's construction industry is stable and has a steady demand for building materials and hardware. Everybody loves their DIY!

Build It offers a wide range of products, including building materials, hardware, plumbing supplies, and electrical equipment, which allows franchise owners to cater to diverse customer needs and maximize sales opportunities. Their stores are serviced by six regional offices, a central office, and a distribution centre, ensuring a supportive franchise network.

Franchisees can share best practices, collaborate on marketing initiatives, and seek advice and support from each other, another major selling point of their franchise model.


4) CleanMe

Automotive products and services is the final double-digit franchise industry, with a 10% slice of the pie. CleanMe is an eco-friendly franchise that fits snugly into this category, offering car wash, truck wash and laundry franchise opportunities.

Carwash franchise buy-in starts at R375K, making it one of the cheap franchises in South Africa to get involved in. The franchise process is straightforward: sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), submit an application, have a site visit, present your business case and, once approved, sign and pay to start trading within just one month.

CleanMe is off the grid (meaning it isn't reliant on Eskom loadshedding woes), plus they offer a turnkey solution, which means that you can start earning from day one and don't have to worry about managing multiple vendors and other start-up headaches.


5) EQ4Kids

The combined industries of childcare, education and training make up 7% of the franchise pie, and EQ4Kids is a fantastic example of one of the cheap franchises in South Africa that has carved out an important niche for itself in our business landscape.

Parents are prepared to invest in their children's future by ensuring they are psychologically resilient, socially aware, and mentally capable. EQ4Kids offers a programme on emotional intelligence that can be presented at the franchise owner's own facilities, or in school classrooms.

With an initial onboarding fee that includes a marketing kit and training, there is then a 20% royalty fee payable per child and a R350 per month subscription for the social media and franchise management system that you join.

For South Africans running kindergartens from home, or educators looking to add another string to their bow, this affordable and inspiring education-oriented franchise can earn you extra income and make a huge difference in developing your children's emotional intelligence.


6) PostNet

In the business to business services industry, PostNet is a trusted brand to courier an urgent document or get that exam assignment printed at the last minute. You can also access other business facilities (digital and mailbox services) if you are on the go and don't have a comprehensive office setup of your own.

Since the collapse of the South African Post Office, PostNet has enjoyed meeting SA’s B2B needs and there are now over 450 owner-managed shops nationwide.

Owning a PostNet franchise will cost you around R860K (including your franchise fee, but excluding your 9% management fee), and it is the fastest growing, largest privately owned counter network in the document and parcel industry – which tells you that they are onto something.

PostNet considers itself an "entrepreneur's store" and in our country that is budding with young entrepreneurs needing to fill in their paperwork, owning a PostNet could be the most profitable business in South Africa that you are looking for.

beauty express

7) Beauty Express

Beauty Express is a bright shining star in the health, beauty, body culture industry (6%). This one is for all the Mzansi ladies looking to “embark on a transformative journey in the beauty, hair, aesthetic, and cosmetic industry”. If you have a community network that you can leverage by selling premium beauty products, then this is a wise move.

You can earn up to R6,5 million in net profit a year for Sole Master Distribution Franchise rights that cost R450K, and with that comes R200Ks worth of wholesale stock, plus a laptop, cellphone, website, training, and much more.

You stand to earn the same by opening an Express Beauty ® retail store for R950K. Beauty Express offers comprehensive training and handles retail store negotiations with shopping mall owners. Another attractive selling point is that once you've paid your initial franchise fee, there are no ongoing monthly costs.


8) Just Property

Owning property is every South African's dream and so this list wouldn't be complete without featuring a standout from the real estate (5%) industry that helps ordinary South Africans do just that!

Just Property offers a property management and administration component to its franchise model, making them more resilient in tough economic times when a house can sit on the market for months on end.

Franchisees gain access to a simple dashboard with cloud-based integration that allows them to stay up-to-date with their agents. Just Property is also an increasingly recognized online real estate brand, which is important when looking to attract new interest in your listings.

Expect to pay a combined marketing and royalty fee of 8%, with an initial investment between R475K and R1 million. Their best-in-class technology and mentorship program make them a sound investment as one of the up-and-coming South African brands you can trust.


9) Nando's

Nando's is a true South African success story, combining Mozambican peri-peri spatchcock chicken with the prego sauce flavours of the Portuguese that settled in Rosettenville, Joburg, where the first store was opened in 1987.

While the brand has enjoyed considerable global expansion, Australia and South Africa are the only territories where you can currently apply to be a franchisor, so be sure to check out their application process.

In the penultimate category of dine-in restaurants (5%), Nando's takes the prize for elevating the fast food franchise concept by making 'dining in' ever so cool. This is because no two Nando's stores look the same, as they place great emphasis on a uniquely African-inspired aesthetic for each restaurant interior.

Nando's has a mantra of their chicken embodying the five core values of pride, passion, courage, integrity, and family – which their trusted franchise owners wholeheartedly buy into.


10) Rush

Rush is the final choice in our top 10 most successful franchises in South Africa, forming part of the entertainment and leisure industry (4% of total). Billed as an "extreme sports park", think of Rush as a massive room filled with trampolines and foam pits, guaranteed to exhilarate children and adults alike.

Perfect for parties and events, and with a restaurant on the side that promises over 5000 coffees sold annually, Rush caters to the active South African lifestyle where we have the energy to burn. Expect a 2-year return on your initial investment of $1.5M.

With new parks in Cape Town and Johannesburg and a firm focus on the people they go into business with, Rush is leapfrogging its way to franchise success. If you're interested in a franchise opportunity where you get to see big smiles on people's faces all day long, then this one's for you!

Helpful FAQs

1.) What is the most profitable franchise in South Africa?

Some of the most profitable franchises in South Africa include fast-food franchises like McDonald's, KFC, and Steers, as well as retail franchises like Pick n Pay and Spar.

2.) What is the largest franchise in South Africa?

KFC is the largest franchise in South Africa, approaching 1000 outlets nationwide.

3.) How do I invest in a franchise in South Africa?

Do your research, contact franchisors, attend discovery days, review your franchise agreement, secure financing, complete training, and then open your franchise!

4.) What is the average salary for a franchise owner in South Africa?

The average salary for a franchise owner in South Africa can vary widely depending on factors such as the industry, the size and success of the franchise, the location of the franchise, and the owner's level of experience and business acumen.

A franchise owner in South Africa can earn anywhere from R100,000 to R1,000,000 or more per year. Expect to earn somewhere between R30K and R80K per month, depending on your business.

Stuart Wood

About the author

Stuart is Editorial Manager at He has worked as Editor for a B2B publisher, Content Manager for a PR firm, and most recently as a Copywriter for Barclays.