CSI initiatives

Our CSI programme has been developed over several years to ensure a strong match with our brands and tangible benefits for our long-term CSI partners

Our CSI Programme is professionally managed according to a policy framework and is seen as a brand building pillar across our Leading Brands portfolio in South Africa. Some of our CSI activities qualify for recognition under the socio-economic development pillar of the B-BBEE scorecard.

The Transformation Office, with guidance from the Social and Ethics Working Group and oversight from the Board’s Social and Ethics Committee, is responsible for coordinating CSI activities. There is a high level of involvement in CSI activities from Leading Brands management and franchise partners.

Our franchise partners may also contribute to their own CSI activities with guidance from Famous Brands. Our franchise partners’ contributions to CSI activities are celebrated at annual brand conferences.

Our CSI objectives

Our CSI policy and activities focus on:

  • Long-term partnerships with reputable and effective CSI partner organisations.
  • Supporting initiatives that enjoy broad-based stakeholder appeal.
  • Avoiding unsustainable relationships and handout tendencies.
  • Programmes that actively consult the beneficiaries in the programme design, implementation and evaluation.
  • Quantifying the costs and benefits of the selected programmes in terms of their ability to contribute to capacity building, improving quality of life and sustainable development.
  • Defining the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and beneficiaries, with a specific emphasis on financial controls and corporate governance compliance.
  • Gaining buy-in and commitment from our franchise partners.
  • Contributing to the socio-economic upliftment of historically disadvantaged communities.
  • Improving relationships with our existing stakeholders and engaging new stakeholders.

CSI initiatives

Each brand within the Leading Brands portfolio has its own CSI initiative, some established, some new, and some in development. Each CSI initiative is linked to the brand story, and activities elevate the profile of recipient non-profits and funds raised to allow them to sustain their activities. All brands report that supporting CSI activities lift employee morale at the restaurant level.

Over time, our CSI approach has evolved from being about ‘what we do’ to becoming ‘who we are’. In 2023, we focused on driving increased franchise partner involvement in CSI activities and training their employees to promote campaigns and assist consumers to participate. We also showcased more CSI promotional material at restaurants, including posters and t-shirts. Most of our fleet of trucks now include CSI messaging in their branding.

IFA Lethu

In August 2022, Famous Brands launched IFA Lethu, which means ‘our legacy’, a CSI initiative that covers all our franchise partners’ registered home delivery drivers in the event of accidental death or disability while on duty. Famous Brands fully funds the premiums for both the death and disability products. This unique offering gives us a competitive edge in retaining drivers while looking after their well-being.


Sports sponsorships

Since 2019, Steers has sponsored the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield contests that showcase the best young rugby players. Steers also connects players with various scholarship programmes to ensure players continue with their education.


Steers has supported the ROUNDA initiative since 2018. ROUNDA is an initiative by the Nikela Charity Funding and Development Trust. Nikela means ‘to give’ in Zulu. The trust aims to combat hunger and alleviate poverty in South Africa. ROUNDA, which runs both in-store and online, enables consumers to donate an additional R1 when making a purchase.

In 2023, Steers raised R1.1 million (2022: R1.07 million) from its ‘Feed the Flame’ campaign to donate to ROUNDA to support the trust’s feeding schemes.

Since its inception, Steers has raised more than R5.3 million for the ROUNDA initiative. The trust, together with Steers, selected FoodForward South Africa, a non-profit partner with a national footprint, to distribute the funds to feeding schemes throughout the country.

Debonairs Doughnation

Debonairs Pizza’s Doughnation is an initiative that began in 2012. Our franchise partners transform excess pizza dough into flatbreads delivered to community organisations that feed children, the elderly and families in need. Our franchise partners and their employees select and partner with a community organisation from their community and are responsible for cooking the dough and making weekly deliveries. Doughnation runs throughout South Africa and Botswana. Over 65% of the Debonairs Pizza franchise partners consistently participate in Doughnation every week. In 2023, more than R1 million worth of flatbreads were donated to 946 charities and non-profits were supported by Doughnation.

The Debonairs Pizza brand supports Doughnation by incentivising quarterly franchise partners winners. The total prize money provided for Doughnation is R620 000. The four winning franchise partners donate the prize money to their community organisation and work with that organisation to determine the best way to spend the cash. The brand supports Doughnation through a dedicated newsletter where our franchise partners’ CSI stories are shared with the network.

In 2023, Debonairs Pizza donated R900 000 worth of food to the KwaZulu-Natal region to support those affected by the April 2022 floods.

Wimpy and Reach for a Dream

Wimpy has supported the Reach for a Dream Foundation since 2013. For 34 years, Reach For A Dream has been offering children a magical moment to regain their childhood lost to an illness.

Wimpy and other corporate sponsors support the foundation’s annual Slipper Day event in May. Wimpy consumers can purchase a Slipper Day sticker for R20 or donate. For every sticker purchased, or every donation over R20, Wimpy rewards consumers with a free coffee to be enjoyed on Slipper Day. In 2023, Wimpy raised R1.5 million for Reach for A Dream through Slipper Day contributions

Case study: Wimpy partners with Ethnikids to launch a series of children’s books

In September 2022, Wimpy commemorated National Literacy Month and Heritage Month by launching a series of five children’s books celebrating South Africa’s rich diversity. This is the second year the brand has collaborated with the online children’s bookstore Ethnikids to make African stories accessible to children in their home language.

The books embrace the vibrant heritage of local folk tales in all 11 official languages. The original stories are created by local authors and illustrators and celebrate South African creativity and encourage a culture of reading.

South Africa faces a literacy crisis, with 80% of 10-year-olds unable to read in their native languages.

Ethnikids, an online bookstore, was established by five mothers in 2016. The bookstore was founded to sell books that feature characters of colour in various South African languages. In South Africa, mother tongue books are not easily available, and most children’s books lack our cultural context. There is a profound psychological and educational benefit of children reading books in their first language and being able to relate to the content in African stories.

Children receive a free book with every Wimpy Kids Combo meal. The translated versions in 11 official languages and in Khoe/Nama, the language of the Khoisan people, including audiobooks, are available for free download on Wimpy’s website.

The partnership speaks to Wimpy’s positioning as a family-friendly, proudly South African restaurant.

Mugg & Bean

Cupcakes for Cancer

In 2023, Mugg & Bean marked its ten-year partnership with Cupcakes of Hope. The non-profit helps between 100 and 130 families every month by either paying for their medical treatment or assisting with everyday expenses like transport money to and from the hospital, healthy food, clothing and nappies. The Mugg & Bean brand ethos of generosity perfectly fits the generous contributions that Cupcakes of Hope make to families in need. As Cupcakes of Hope expanded, Mugg & Bean also grew its support each year. Mugg & Bean has a donation portal on its website for Cupcakes of Hope and consumers can donate any amount via a safe and secure donation form. The portal can even generate a consumer tax receipt if required.

In 2023, Mugg & Bean expanded its support of Cupcakes of Hope from one month to the full year. For every Giant Muffin sold, Mugg & Bean donated R1 to Cupcakes of Hope. In September 2022, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the brand donated R5 for every giant muffin purchased. This meant that Mugg & Bean franchise partners could raise a new record of R2.5 million for the charity (2022: R1.1 million).

Milky Lane

The Smile Foundation

Milky Lane has supported the Smile Foundation since 2018. Founded in 2007, the Smile Foundation has helped over 4 000 disadvantaged children with facial abnormalities, including cleft lip and palate, facial paralysis and burns, receive life-changing corrective plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Milky Lane franchise partners host fun events, including cycling challenges, to raise funds for the foundation. Our franchise partners actively participate in these events and provide Milky Lane vouchers as prizes. The brand gives children who have just undergone the procedure a gift bag with a teddy bear and blanket. In 2023, the brand matched our franchise partners’ contributions to donate R102 000 to the foundation. This enabled one child to receive an operation.

Milky Lane’s partnership with the Smile Foundation extends its brand promise of sharing smiles and feeling good.

Tembisa Feeding Scheme

Famous Brands Head Office has been a major supporter of Tembisa Child and Family Welfare since 2020. The canteen at the Group’s Midrand Campus supplies the organisation with meals for a daily feeding scheme for 80 children and staff members.

Tembisa Child and Family Welfare was founded in 1986 to care for abandoned, abused, neglected children and HIV/AIDS infected orphans. The organisation works to place children with foster or adoptive families. The organisation also creates local employment through projects such as a sewing school, a bakery, food gardening and soap recycling.

Famous Brands started the CAN Initiative in March 2022, to encourage employees to donate canned food to the charity. In December 2022, we delivered over 4 000 canned food items which were distributed to the children and their families in the broader Tembisa community.