Famous Brands’ continued success lies in our ability to craft and grow remarkable brands in a dynamic environment with evolving consumer needs.

The brand custodian model for Leading Brands

The Group has a well-developed brand custodian model designed to build Leading Brands with dedicated internal resources and external marketing experts. We develop and own our brand strategies in-house as a core competency. There is a healthy competitiveness between the brand teams as they often compete for similar consumers. Our marketing and brand management team have 263 years of combined relevant experience.

Brand management team

Each brand has a brand management team responsible for protecting and enhancing the brand’s intellectual property (IP) and making decisions regarding brand communications and advertising.

The brand management teams develop brand and marketing plans every year, underpinned by individual brand strategies. These brand strategies and activity plans are informed by the latest consumer research, along with insights from our product development team.

Operations team

Each brand has a dedicated operations team who are responsible for servicing our franchise partners and ensuring that their restaurant teams are trained and equipped to deliver memorable brand experiences to our consumers aligned to the respective brand strategies and campaigns.

Central marketing resources

All brands tap into our central marketing function based at our Leading Brands Office. These include support from marketing professionals, including experts in social media, digital brand management, product innovation, and locality marketing.

This function is responsible for managing contractual arrangements with agencies and uncovering and presenting consumer insights to the brand management teams in collaboration with external research providers.

External marketing resources

Each brand employs the services of dedicated third-party advertising agencies, to ensure that our brand strategies and activity plans are brought to life. This is supported by a specialised digital agency that amplifies the messaging.

We have an appointed media agency, which firstly ensures we have a portfolio view of our communication across the various media platforms at any given time, and secondly, that we leverage our scale from a media buying perspective.

We retain the services of a dedicated public relations and reputation management agency, to ensure that we proactively manage any brand reputational risks or opportunities.

Website development and below-the-line marketing collateral are developed by Sauce Advertising, a Group associate.

Brand management for Signature Brands

Signature Brands uses the same strategy planning process as the Leading Brands portfolio. However, brand plans are simplified around fewer key strategic priorities, with marketing activities focused on achieving those priorities. Smaller brand networks and budgets allow for increased local marketing activities with restaurant-specific promotions employed to drive turnover at different locations. The portfolio draws on external marketing resources, including the digital agency, public relations agency and Sauce Advertising.

Derrian Nadauld

How does research inform your brand management decisions?

How do you measure success with your branding and marketing activities?

How do you involve franchise partners in branding and marketing decisions?

Brand awards in 2024

Leading Brands – Quick Service

Steers is one of the most successful Quick Service brands in South Africa, with a noteworthy presence in a highly competitive Quick Service Restaurant market. Steers is a hamburger brand known for its legendary 100% pure flame-grilled burgers, fresh hand-cut potato chips, fresh ingredients and unbeatable flavour. To cater for a variety of customer needs, Steers also offers breakfast options, BBQ ribs, flame-grilled beef and chicken meals, chicken burgers and vegetarian options.

Steers founder, George Halamandres, had a vision to create a successful family-run business.

The idea for Steers originated while he was on holiday in the United States, where he encountered innovative food industry concepts. The Steers forerunner, The Golden Spur, opened in Rosebank, Johannesburg in 1961. The name Steers evolved over the years, changing to Seven Steer, followed by Branded Steer and Longhorn Steer, before becoming Steers.

The early 1980s saw the opening of Steers in Sandton City, which attracted interest from would-be franchise partners, and this encouraged the team behind Steers to launch their franchise programme in 1983. By the end of the 1990s, Steers also started expanding beyond South Africa.

Steers has three formats: A Quick Service format focused on take away, the Steers diner option, which offers a take away option, a fully serviced seating area for sit-down meals and a drive thru.

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Brand tagline

Flame Grilled, it just tastes better

Net restaurant growth in 2024


Debonairs Pizza is a market-leading brand that owes its popularity to an ongoing focus on pizza innovation, generosity, quality ingredients and free home delivery. Debonairs Pizza was the first African pizza brand to launch online and mobile ordering. Iconic crowd-pleasers include the Triple-Decker, Crammed-Crust and Double-Stack pizzas. Debonairs Pizza has always been known for trying out new and exciting flavours.

With a shoestring budget, two university students, Craig MacKenzie and Andrew Harvey, opened the first Debonairs Pizza restaurant in Pietermaritzburg in 1991. From day one, the brand offered free delivery, a first for any South African brand. To differentiate the brand, delivery drivers wore dashing delivery tuxes and bow ties. In 1996, Debonairs Pizza was acquired by the Steers Group, which would later become Famous Brands. In 1997, the brand opened its first restaurant outside South Africa in Eswatini.

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Net restaurant growth in 2024


Launched by Famous Brands in 1998, Fishaways is South Africa’s most popular seafood Quick Service Restaurant brand. It offers affordable, fresh and nutritious seafood-based meals that cater to the discerning and health-conscious consumer. Meals are simple but offer generous portions. Consumer favourites include crispy battered hake and hot chips, seafood family platters, prawn hot pots and seafood salads. In 2023, the brand introduced sushi in some restaurants to broaden its appeal to consumers.

We also offer a range of 500-calorie menu offers to cater for consumers looking for lighter meal choices.

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Brand tagline

Catch it fresh

Net restaurant decline in 2024


Leading Brands – Casual Dining

Mugg & Bean was founded in 1996 after restaurant entrepreneur, Ben Filmalter, visited Chicago and discovered a little coffee shop that was known for its generosity. Inspired by this, Ben opened the first Mugg & Bean in 1996 at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Since day one, the brand has been known for a spirit of generosity with ample portions, bottomless coffees and a loyalty app that allows consumers to earn rewards with every visit.

From the introduction of the bottomless filter coffee, self-served at dedicated coffee stations, to the emergence of espresso-based coffees like cappuccino and latte, Mugg & Bean has always prided itself on delivering great coffee. Mugg & Bean was acquired by Famous Brands in 2009.

Mugg & Beans offers two formats: Mugg & Bean offers a sit-down restaurant and a smaller take away On-The-Move format.

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Brand tagline

Giving you more and more

Net restaurant growth in 2024


* This includes 10 conversions from Fego Caffés to Mugg & Bean restaurants.

While Wimpy was founded in the United States in the 1930s, it found its success internationally in South Africa and the UK. In 1954, the first “Wimpy Bar” was established at the Lyons Corner House in Coventry Street, London, UK. In 1967, the first Wimpy opened in Murchies Passage, Durban, where 1 000 people visited the restaurant on its opening day. In the 1980s, Wimpy partnered with Mobil (now Engen) to make sure that a Wimpy pitstop is part of every journey.

Wimpy SA and Wimpy UK were acquired by Famous Brands in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

Wimpy is a family favourite, built around consumers “enjoying every moment” and a warm and inclusive atmosphere. In South Africa, the menu is available in all 11 national languages. The brand is known for its famous Wimpy coffee, all-day breakfasts, burgers and grills, complemented by a delicious selection of shakes and desserts.

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Brand tagline

You’re always welcome

Net restaurant decline in 2024


Milky Lane was launched by Famous Brands founder George Halamandres in 1958. Milky Lane is South Africa’s original soft-serve Quick Service and Casual Dining ice cream concept and one of the very few brands in this category to have succeeded where others have failed, including several global players.

Milky Lane is synonymous with constant innovation, seasonal specials and flavour collaborations with well-known brands, including Bar-One, Oreo, KitKat, Ferrero Rocher and Nutella. Milky Lane also offers a NiceCream cake range for children’s parties and special occasions.

Milky Lane offers two formats: A Quick Service format and a larger sit-down experience. Franchise partners also use a hub-and-spoke model, taking advantage of vending opportunities with ice cream carts.

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Net restaurant growth in 2024


Signature Brands

Mythos is a contemporary Greek restaurant with a traditional spirit, serving well-loved dishes and modern cuisine in a stylish Mediterranean setting. The authentic dining experience is infused with the customary Greek passion for life.

With a strong Roman influence, LUPA Osteria offers modern yet traditional neighbourhood Italian food in a warm and welcoming environment. From our pasta and sauces to pizza bases, everything is made from scratch by our talented chefs.

In 1977, four brothers who loved good steak opened their first Turn ‘n Tender restaurant, a traditional South African steakhouse. Decades later, the brand has become a destination for discerning lovers of steak, ribs, burgers, and fine wine in a contemporary setting.

SALSA serves authentic Mexican food prepared traditionally, with an unconventional twist. The cuisine is complemented by craft tequilas and beers and a dining experience that epitomises vibrant and welcoming Mexican hospitality.

Coffee Couture is a specialty coffee shop brand in Mediclinic hospitals nationwide. Coffee Couture’s offering comprises tasty meals complemented by a creative coffee offering. The brand also offers a range of gifts and other convenience retail items.

Our bespoke NetCafé brand was created to cater to the Netcare Group’s hospital staff, patients, and visitors. The brand offering comprises a full sit-down menu, a deli section and a retail convenience outlet.

Fego Caffé offers café-style dining, delicious light meals, sweet treats and unparalleled coffee. With the finest beans sourced from South America and Africa, the brand is the connoisseur’s choice for an extraordinary coffee experience.

PAUL is all about people, community and great food, delivered with unapologetic French flair. Its meals and freshly baked bread, pastries and confectionary are made daily from scratch with carefully selected quality ingredients.

Founded in 1889 in France, PAUL1 is an internationally renowned fifth-generation family-owned artisanal bakery-café chain. The brand’s traditional French offering is served in trademark chic restaurants, complemented by crafted baked products. Famous Brands holds the licence agreement for PAUL in South Africa. Some of the ingredients are imported.

Vovo Telo is a specialist artisan bakery synonymous with excellence in craft baking, mouth-watering breakfasts and lunches, and perfectly brewed coffee. The brand uses local artisanal products, supporting producers who share its respect for quality and integrity.

1 Licensed brand by PAUL International.

Other brands

Mr Bigg’s

Mr Bigg’s s a Nigerian Quick Service Restaurant brand owned by UAC Restaurants Limited. In 2013, Famous Brands bought a 49% associate shareholding in the brand. UAC Restaurants Limited is also the master licensee for Debonairs Pizza in Nigeria.

The restaurant is known for its red and yellow colour scheme and meat pies. Mr Bigg’s history begins with the coffee shops inside Kingsway Department Stores in the 1960s. In 1973, these shops were rebranded as Kingsway Rendezvous, which became Mr Bigg’s in 1986. The chain saw rapid expansion as one of the first Nigerian companies to sell franchises.

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Net restaurant decline in 2024


Food and beverage brands

Aqua Monte

Aqua Monte bottled water is sourced from a fresh spring and is offered in still and sparkling options.

Gold Seal

Frozen French fries are offered to a wide range of food services businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry in South Africa.


A range of plant-based foods sold in retail outlets in South Africa.


TruFruit is a range of bottled and bulk pack fruit juices that are sold throughout the South African franchise operations and to a wide range of food services businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry in South Africa.


Baltimore is a trusted soft serve and hard ice cream (including cassata and sorbets) brand offered to a wide range of food services businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry in South Africa.

Our geographical footprint

We closed our restaurants in Sudan due to war and exited our master licence in Oman.