Boitumelo Pico’s customers keep coming back for more, and he believes that it’s because of the taste of his chicken, his bicycle delivery service, and using a card swipe machine. Pico’s dream of owning a food business was realised in 2019 when he started his D500 Kitchen in his mother’s garage in Christiana in the North West. He told Vutivi News that he opened his business from a salary that was delayed for three months while he was employed through the state’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
With that money, Pico bought a deep fryer and started selling wings and chips. He gave his business his full attention when his EPWP contract ended, and he expanded his menu to include chicken and the much-loved Kota. Before the end of the year, he had already added bigger chicken portions and snoek. “I’ve always been a lover of cooking,” Pico said. “I used to cook for my friends when we were in university, and even when I was younger, I always loved the kitchen.”
His business employs two full-time employees and a casual worker. They also have a bicycle delivery service and a machine for card transactions, which has proved advantageous. “Many of my customers order either on WhatsApp, Facebook, or even send a please-call-me, and I endeavour to have the food delivered in 20 minutes,” he explained. “It also helps to give them the option of using their cards to pay, which means that I do not have to give them credit.”
He said that he also used a mobile kitchen to sell at events in and around Christiana, and always ensured that he had a gas backup if there was load-shedding. The businessman received the money to purchase the mobile kitchen after applying for a loan with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency. According to Pico, business was going well until food and oil prices went up, which resulted in him increasing his prices.
For a few weeks, he lost some customers. However, he said it did not take them long to return to his shop. “Our service is great, the chicken is wonderful and even though prices have gone up, they understand the economic condition because prices have gone up almost everywhere,” he said. He believes that so far, his mobile kitchen is his biggest achievement. “For me, it showed that I am entering into a period of growth and expansion, and I would like to see my business having franchises across the country.”