It’s late summer here in Britain, just as the wedding season is drawing to a close. One Saturday you do your Four Weddings and a Funeral thing, dress up in your suit, swear while trying to tie your bow tie, sweat through the ceremony and then make your way to the reception. Where, of course, the smell of a braai assails your nostrils as soon as you arrive.
Whoa, wait up a second! Didn’t you say this is in Britain?
Well, actually, yes. And the reason behind this quiet culinary revolution lies in the determination and skills (both business and culinary) of two young South Africans. George Zaayman and and Johannes Burger both come from Worcester and both studied at Stellenbosch University. After working part time for Spitbraai King as students, they hit upon the idea of a catering company specialising in spit braais, but lacked the capital to do that full-time in Worcester. So after graduation they packed their bags and headed off to London to seek their fortune. But rather than work in a bar for 2 years and then heading home with soem cash, they realised that they could work part-time and start the business in London, particularly given the rich seam of homesick expats available to them as a perfect target market.
And so, in 2002, Nyama Catering was born. Their service is simple: you choose a menu from their website, discuss any specific requirements with them and on the appointed day they will arrive at your house (or hired venue) with their self-contained gas-driven spit roast, a hog or a lamb as per your order, side dishes, crockery and cutlery and proceed to cook while you entertain your guests. Their smoke-free spit roast system even means that you could do the braai indoors should the weather not co-operate – an important selling point in England! And when it’s all over, they clear it all away. Could there be an easier way to do a spit braai??
Although they initially envisioned South African expats as being their target market, the guys have been surprised that the largest uptake has actually been from Brits who are intrigued by the concept, and it is a popular choice for weddings. The only slight cultural difference that they encountered is that, whereas in South Africa a lamb on the spit is more traditional, England has no such tradition. Here, it’s only pigs that get skewered whole and roasted, so some tweaks to their marketing were required. But that aside, they are going great guns.
So great in fact that they have now opened franchises in… South Africa! Talk about coal to Newcastle, but they seem to have made it work. So now you can have the uinque Nyama taste and secret basting sauce in Johannesburg and George, as well as in London. And just in case you think they are now evil business overlords, hell-bent on world domination (insert evil overlord laugh here), don’t worry – they are regular sponsors of SA golf days here in London and the money raised there goes to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. It’s nice to see successful businesses giving something back, right from the start.
So if you are (or know) some homesick SA expats in London and they have a party coming up… look no further than Nyama Catering and support South African entrepreneurship.
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