Food trucks and trailers have a long and storied history that goes back to the ‘chuckwagons’ of the old American West. They came back into fashion in a big way around ten years ago, with restaurants looking for ways to minimise costs and with consumers looking for good street food to eat on the run. Soon, they started to infiltrate South African cities, especially at big sports games and events like music concerts.
Braai Point founding members, Litha Mzozoyana and Sijadu Mzozoyana, loved the concept of food trucks, and thought they could add a South African spin to the concept. Most food trucks and trailers sell burgers and pizzas–as tasty as those foods may be, there is nothing particularly South African about them, says Mzozoyana.
He and his partner decided to create a fleet of food trailers selling hearty South African fare, including traditional braai meats and local dishes derived from Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana, and many other local cultures. From boerie rolls and dombolo and chuck, to traditional pap and chakalaka, Braai Point offers an entirely ‘local is lekker’ eating experience.
“As our first step, we wanted to open a store, but we found that rental was prohibitively expensive,” says Mzozoyana. “We then looked at the big food trucks and realised they too would be too expensive. So we decided to buy our first food trailer, with the goal of making our food affordable for people and giving them something that is really tailored to the tastes of our market.”
Growing the business through an online presence
The Braai Point website at braaipoint.com is one of the company’s most important marketing assets.Mzozoyana says he wanted to create a central digital destination where people could explore the menu, learn about the business and send a request to book one of its food trailers.
The Braai Point website, built with GoDaddy’s easy-to-use tools, is a place where the company can tell the world its story and use visuals to get people interested in the cuisine it sells. It’s packed with tantalising descriptions of the food Braai Point prepares daily, as well as photos of its dishes and practical food trailers.
Top-notch customer support has helped Braai Point gain the most from its website. “The team of support individuals I have had the pleasure to work with were really great,” says Mzozoyana.
Braai Point trailers are open for lunch at regular locations across , serving up tasty meals to busy office workers and students looking for a delicious, no nonsense, convenient meal. A key part of the business is providing a food service at large events such as parties, sports matches, and music concerts and festivals.
Online orders on the cards
“We have learned some expensive lessons since we bought our first trailer, but the business is growing well now. One of the most valuable lessons was to ensure we have done our due diligence. Most importantly, however, was having the courage to simply start the business,” Mzozoyana says.
“I really enjoy the independence of running my own business. You only answer to yourself and the people you work with–it gives you a great deal of freedom,” he adds.
Looking to the future, the web will continue to play an important role in the business’s growth. “We are seriously considering adding an online ordering service that will allow our customers to place orders directly from our website,” Mzozoyana says.
Mzozoyana attended the launch of GoDaddy in Johannesburg. He was part of a customer panel in which he shared the story behind Braai Point and his recent milestone, the creation of the Braai Point website.
Image Courtesy: Supplied