“Vuyo’s” big dream made real

From taking a business idea from a beer TV advert to actually starting a real Vuyo’s restaurant, entrepreneur Miles Khubheka has taken his boerewors roll business to a new height

Its not often that fiction becomes a reality. But in the case of entrepreneur Miles Kubheka, the owner of Vuyo’s, the restaurant inspired by the one in the Hansa Pilsener TV ad, life really has imitated art and he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

The Hansa beer advert opens with Vuyo (a fictional character) being a “big, big dreamer”. He starts a business with a small boerewors cart and ultimately owns a big company called Vuyo’s Original Wors. The business flourishes to become a big brand and eventually goes international. Vuyo ends up living a lavish life and owning his own speedboat, but he never forgets his roots.

Kubheka, who is also the co-owner of an IT software solutions company, liked the business idea in the tv advert. He did his research and found out that there is no actual Vuyo’s restaurant out there. He registered a trademark to the Vuyo’s name, turning a fictional business into a reality.

The first Vuyo’s restaurant opened in Braamfontein in December 2012, where Kubheka, a Wits University graduate, got to serve food to some Wits students in the area.

But beer manufacturer SABMiller did not have a bone to pick with the entrepreneur, but was rather supportive of the business idea. This was especially since boerewors rolls complement beer says Kubheka.

Vuyo’s restaurant sells proper meals ranging from idombolo (dumpling) with vegetables and stew, wings with chips, ikota (bunny chows) and a new addition to the menu amagwinya (vetkoek) with a twist.

Because of the success we have had with the pilot carts we will go on a full rollout

Kubheka says now they plan to open another restaurant in Bloemfontein in the next two months, to be followed by another in Rosebank, Johannesburg, probably around November.

While getting the business off the ground the “big big dreamer” of an entrepreneur is really thinking big about the business. He started looking for other opportunities to grow his brand. And he has done this by piloting Vuyo’s-branded food carts.

Kubheka approached food retailer Spar and asked if they could partner with them in creating the Vuyo’s carts to sell boerewors rolls in front of their stores. In June last year the partnership with Spar began and Vuyo’s has piloted four food carts of this kind.

But instead of just thinking about his own pocket and the bottom line, Kubheka is also using the opportunity to get other people to be entrepreneurial. He plans, with Spar, to rollout 300 Vuyo’s food carts over the next five years.

“Because of the success we have had with the pilot carts we will go on a full rollout soon,” says Kubheka. “People love the carts. Now we have a database for people who would like to own a cart.”

While most people looking to become a franchisee often have to pay upfront to do so, Kubheka has quite a different idea. He wants business-minded people to have the opportunity to run their own enterprise, even those entrepreneurs who lack start-up capital.

“We want to be more accessible, even to people who don’t have capital,” says Kubheka “If we see the potential in an entrepreneur we would give them a cart to start running their business.”

But wouldn’t this be drowning the business while it’s just taking off?

Not according to Kubheka, he believes his business model is sustainable and this tactic would ensure they get a return on investment on the franchised carts.

“Each cart replenishes itself, so it literally pays itself off,” he explains.

Kubheka is also looking at franchising the actual Vuyo’s restaurant.

“I don’t want a store that is expensive like some of the franchising stores. I want it to be a high quality store on the most affordable rand value.”

According to their partnership with Spar, each cart would be assigned to a Spar store. The food used to make the boerewors roll would be obtained from the Spar store and the cart would be stored on site.

But quality assurance is often a concern that prevents many businesses from going the franchise route.

Kubheka is addressing this concern by establishing a team that will manage the carts to ensure that a high standard of quality is maintained across the board.

“This team would also ensure that the carts open on time and using the right sauces. Quality is important with food, the last thing we need is to get somebody getting sick from the food,” says Kubheka.

Like the fictional Vuyo’s in the tv advert, Kubheka seems to be on the way to fulfilling his dream of taking his brand places.

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