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Turning a TV Commercial into Real Life Business with MILES KUBHEKA
Owner of Vuyos, a restaurant that offers modern African cuisine.
Elevator Pitch: Who is Miles Kubheka?
Miles likes to test people’s reaction by telling them he sells boerewors rolls for a living. Often they automatically assume he is a sidewalk hawker when he answers their question like that. He feels that for some reason people tend to look down on boerewors rolls, something that is inherently South African.
Upon finishing his studies, Miles worked for Microsoft. It afforded him to see the world and he learned many things, but he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He left Microsoft to start a boutique software company. Before long his company was approached by Microsoft for a huge investment. In the end Miles had to leave because of some friction within the company.
Miles saw an advertisement on the television. In the ad a character called Vuyo has big dreams for his sidewalk boerewors roll business. He grows his business into a billion dollar business and it was Vuyo’s tenacity that appealed to Miles. He didn’t want the idea to go to waste. Miles took the fictitious brand from the advertisement and trademarked it.
Making Mistakes and Learning from Them
Entering a new industry is always daunting and risky. In the restaurant industry you need to ensure that your location works for breakfast, lunch and dinner, says Miles. His first restaurant’s location was suited to the lunch trade, but not so much the rest of the day. His income was effectively reduced by two-thirds.
Open Up Shop
Establish why exactly the prospective site is empty. Ask the previous tenant how much their rent was and compare that with what the landlord expects you to pay. Now that he’s been in the industry a while he knows that there are expert site selectors, people who are trained in that. The site should be on street level as people are reluctant to use stairs and ramps to enter a restaurant. Keep in mind the direction in which your store is facing. This is important for climate control and natural light in your store. The corporate identity you decide on should be the glue that connects your customer with your product.
Differentiate Yourself from Competitors
Miles calls their offering “modern African cuisine”. They are not competing with your ability to cook, but would rather provide you with convenience and an experience that you won’t find at home. Indigenous cuisines have often been overlooked in the restaurant industry.
Miles is not convinced that social media is the right platform to utilise to draw customers to your restaurant. Customers are much more likely to complain about your restaurant on social media than compliment it. The complaint hardly ever reaches the owner or the manager in order for them to rectify the mistake.
Insider Information about the Restaurant Industry
Ultimately you are still selling a product. You might find the profit margins on coffee to be quite good. If you make 800% profit on a cappuccino, for instance, it makes up for other items you need on your menu that aren’t that profitable.
Reset Button: If you had to start over in a different industry, what would it be and why?
If Miles could choose any other profession, he would want to build cars. He values the fact that there’s a template to it. South Africa’s minibus taxis are manufactured abroad and imported. Miles feels this is unnecessary as we manufacture premium vehicles in this country.
He feels the right guy for the job doesn’t look for motivation externally, but already possesses it. True entrepreneurs are self-motivated. Failure often pivots you in the right direction. Instead of quitting, one should learn to pivot your approach.