Competition within the food and beverage market has intensified in recent years, with the challenge of enticing consumers to spend with reduced budgets at a time when the virtues of healthy eating and drinking are continually reinforced.
In this environment, one might consider it a tough challenge to compete with some of the world’s most easily identified brands, but Soda King Franchising CC has in fact thrived since the business was launched in 1997.
Headquartered in Maitland, Cape Town, the company manufactures a broad range of carbonated, flavoured soft drinks and filtered water variants – all manufactured according to tried and tested, popular recipes.
Taking into consideration health concerns, the beverages are all sweetened using natural white sugar only and thus contain no artificial sweeteners (except for the sugar-free LITE ranges). All the drinks are also completely tartrazine free.
Part of the success of Soda King has been its expansion using a franchise model, as the corporate website explains:
“The Soda King brand was established in 1997, with the following of the Aqua King label in 2004. There are currently 7 individual Soda King franchises, of which 4 are in South Africa and the other three in Swaziland, Zambia and Madagascar respectively. The aim is to expand the brand coverage across Southern Africa within the next 5 years.
“Soda King, King Cola and Aqua King, as well as the “a zest for life” slogan are all trademarks owned by Soda King Franchising CC. They represent a broad range of carbonated, flavoured soft drinks and filtered water variants – all manufactured according to tried and tested, popular recipes. Two new, non-alcoholic malt-based drinks (Soraya and King Malta) will also be added to the current ranges at the end of the year.
“Soda King supplies a turnkey franchise opportunity, with manufacturing starting from day one of opening the factory. Setting up a Soda King Franchise is usually accomplished within 3 months from having signed the franchise agreement and making the requisite payments,” the site continues.
Under the terms of the franchise agreements, each entrepreneur is responsible for establishing a localised bottling plant and then acquires the sole rights to manufacture, distribute and sell the full Soda King range of carbonated cool drinks, Soda King TEN+1 Concentrates, as well as the range of Aqua King waters and the two new malt drinks in a specific area / country.
“Utilising the trade secrets, operational systems and marketing tools developed by Soda King over many years, the franchise allows for flexible, low-cost production in a simple, streamlined operation, requiring minimal capital input.
“This franchise is a turnkey package which incorporates all a franchisee needs to start-up a bottling plant and deliver the final products to the consumers. It includes full technical, financial, marketing and business systems training, as well as an initial supply of raw materials and labels. The franchisor also provides on-going support in all areas of production methodology, market penetration and marketing material development.
“Soda King is taking the bottling of popular soft drinks to the local community for the local community at prices that anyone can afford,” the website adds.
The company produces cold drinks and waters, available in a variety of sizes, ranging between 2 litres, 1.5 litres, 500ml and 330ml – all in safe, PET plastic bottles. The Aqua King premium still water is also available in 5 litre containers.
The Soda King franchise includes the setup of a complete bottling plant with a production capacity of 1,500 litres of carbonated cold drinks / water per hour.
“The fully installed and commissioned factory plant is extremely simple and safe to operate, and requires minimum maintenance. The factory plant staff compliment of 13 x PAX is professionally trained by the plant supplier and the franchisor during commissioning,” explains the website.
“In addition, the franchisee and the sales staff undergo a rigorous training programme prior to, during and after the commissioning of the plant. On-going support is also provided by the franchisor.
“The production consists of combining water, syrup and CO2 – basically requiring electricity, packaging and manual labour. Soda King labels and concentrates are purchased from the franchisor, whilst the other raw materials (sugar, CO2, shrink wrap, bottles and screw-on tops) are purchased from franchisor nominated suppliers,” the site continues.
Each facility’s plastic bottle stretch blow moulding machine enables the franchisees to blow their own bottles, providing a significant cost saving of between 35 per cent and 45 per cent, compared to purchasing bottles from an external supplier.
The required premise is only 400 metres² – 500 metres² and should be equipped with clean water supply and 380V & 220V electricity points, with Soda King providing assistance to franchisees with the appropriate site selection and rent negotiation.
Each bottling plant carries a 6-month manufacturer’s warranty.
Once packaged, the finished products are distributed to a variety of customers including: Supermarkets; Mini-Markets and Wholesalers; Cafés, Convenience Stores and Spaza Shops; Restaurants and Bars; School Tuck Shops; Technical Colleges / University Cafeterias; Government Institutions; Petrol Forecourts; Army / Navy / Air Force Bases; Stalls / Participation at Sports Events and School Fêtes; and Festivals and Markets.
The Soda King name and business model has come a long way in the past 18 years and looks set to continue expanding for many more years to come.