Hungry for a “kota” or “magwinya” but don’t want to leave the house? Order Kasi has you covered. The South African B2C delivery platform connects township eateries with customers on their platform—servicing customers in the townships—or professionals that have moved to the suburbs, and are missing the township taste.
Order Kasi was founded by Leon Qwabe in 2018 and is currently servicing all Cape Town’s townships, including Khayelitsha, Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga. Qwabe originally came up with the idea to build a restaurant support app to alert customers when their food is ready for collection. However, he quickly realised there is a great need for a food delivery service to homes and businesses.
“Some chefs were both cooking and delivering,” said Qwabe in an interview. “Restaurants rely heavily on foot-traffic and mostly operate in good weather conditions in townships.” He noted that eateries can only service customers in their neighbourhood and shops often have to close at 6 pm for security reasons.
The platform uses both addresses and geolocation to direct drivers to customers, and hires only local drivers that understand local township conditions. According to Qwabe, most food delivery drivers reside in townships, and can reduce their travel time and transport cost by working closer to home.
Food delivery in South Africa
Food delivery services in South Africa are dominated by UberEats—owned by Uber, and Mr D Food—owned by Naspers. Other players such as OrderIn and Bolt Food have also entered the market. By some estimates, more than a million orders are processed each month.
“Many food deliveries companies are not targeting informal settlements, because they don’t have franchises operating in those areas,” said Jayson Joubert, Qwabe’s business partner at Order Kasi. According to Joubert, franchises provide delivery services within a 5 – 10 km radius and mostly don’t service customers in township communities.
Beyond traditional food delivery
Order Kasi is also looking to expand beyond traditional food delivery and is targeting the B2B delivery market in the townships. The startup is currently in discussions with financial services organisations, couriers, and B2B ecommerce companies looking to expand their reach in the townships.
The startup is also in talks with an impact incubator in Cape Town, to provide deliveries for dark kitchens and township residents with home gardens. Dark kitchens are also known as virtual kitchens or ghost kitchens, and sell meals exclusively through delivery. Order Kasi could market dark kitchen entrepreneurs’ food on the app, and enable urban farmers to sell fresh produce to local communities. “Order Kasi is more than just food delivery, it’s about empowering township communities,” said Qwabe.
Township food guide
South African townships have always had their own unique taste. Below are a few favourites:
“Magwinya” in Xhosa or “vetkoek” or fat cake, is a yeast dough deep-fried with a meat filling or hot vegetables.
“Kota” is bread cut in four quarters, hollowed out and filled with ingredients which could range from french fries, sliced processed meat or atchar, a spicy condiment. When filled with curry it is known as bunny chow.
A “smiley” is a sheep’s head roasted whole or grilled on the fire.
“Walkies” are chicken feet and “talkies” are chicken heads, which are stewed, grilled, fried or braaied (barbecued), often with curry powder and turmeric.