Melissa’s franchisees believe in the proverbial Phoenix rising

A roundtable between Melissa’s franchisees last week, to discuss the future of the 16 shops that do not belong to the original CC, has painted a brighter future for the liquidated brand.

Speaking on behalf of the meeting, franchise owner Surine van Niekerk tells Moneyweb that the franchisees have chosen to rebrand, with most of them also deciding to adjust their prices and menus. “We [the franchisees] came to the conclusion that we all bought businesses that, at the end of the day, can still be managed. We aren’t even focusing on the liquidation, as it doesn’t affect us too much.

“We bought the brand, but the business is still there for us to operate [under a new name] and to make a success of. We are all business people,” she says, adding that the franchisees would now seek to align better with market expectations.

Asked why the franchisees were finding success, while head office was about to close its doors, Van Niekerk explains that the original concept of the brand was “highly successful”, but that possible mismanagement at the head office led to the company’s downfall.  “This has nothing to do with us,” she adds.

However, Van Niekerk further notes that the drought and subsequent water crisis Cape Town faced also played a factor in businesses closing their doors in and around the city. 

Van Niekerk owns three franchises – in Somerset West, Hermanus and at the V&A Waterfront and employs around 75 people. The latter was bought after its original owner and operator, Three Beans in a Pod, owned by Matthews Mazibuko, filed for liquidation in July 2017.

Van Niekerk said that as part of the head office liquidation, the franchisees would also no longer be accountable for franchising costs.

“We have received a lot of support from the public and from our landlords. We aren’t angry, we can make this work, we have to. Yes, it’s difficult to let go and to have to make these changes, but everybody is positive and extremely excited,” Van Niekerk concludes.

Mantra Café, a Melissa’s concept store, which is situated in Camps Bay, has assured its patrons and social media followers that it would also not be affected by the liquidation and that it would remain open, while the Frates Square Melissa’s franchise also assured its customers that it would also continue as normal.