Greg Solomon

McDonald’s SA: You want to Supersize it?

Compared to its worldwide expansion, McDonald’s has had a slow start in South Africa. But under the ownership of Cyril Ramaphosa, it wants to double in the next four years. The Daily Maverick meets MD, Greg Solomon (left)…

Greg Solomon orders a strawberry juice before our interview in the Woodmead McDonald’s. I admit it’s the first time I’ve seen strawberries under the golden arches.

“You didn’t know? Wow! You don’t eat here enough.” He probably just likes the juice, but the routine seems rehearsed, an advertisement for the fast-food chain’s healthy eating menu.

If you like its salads, or burgers that reportedly never decompose, then you’re in luck. Since Cyril Ramaphosa took over McDonald’s SA last year, the company has been expanding to increase its share of the fast-food retail market.

It wants to double its South African business in the next four years. Currently, it has over 6,000 employees and 165 restaurants across the country. Ramaphosa wants to double those figures, along with revenue.

Even with the expansion, McDonald’s will still be smaller than its American counterpart, KFC. The latter came to the country in 1971, whereas McDonald’s only opened in 1995. KFC holds about 40% of the fast-food market compared to the 5% secured by McDonald’s.

“Is success more restaurants?” asks Solomon, enjoying his strawberry juice. “For us, clearly no. We’ve never wanted to be the biggest. We want to be the best and I can positively boast that I sit now in front of you in some quite trying times, that we have 165 restaurants that serve 6.7-million customers every month and that each independent unit is highly profitable.”

Solomon comes across as a capable manager. He must be, since he’s entrusted with part of Ramaphosa’s fortune. But his speech has an air of performance, delivered like a businessman tentatively using the media….

Daily Maverick: Read the full article

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Talking to Greg Solomon, MD of McDonald’s SA