Rocomamas founder Brian Altriche on the business of burgers

A household name for all foodies, RocoMamas has experienced rampant success. Co-founder Brian Altriche shares his recipe for success and launching 40 franchises in just three years

There are fast food franchises and gourmet restaurants, then there are the establishments that bridge the gap between the two. RocoMamas is one such franchise. The brainchild of Brian Altriche and Paul Dempsey, the establishment has become a firm favourite for people looking for a high quality fast food option.

“I wanted to bring mastery back into fast food,” says Altriche. “And I wanted to do it by providing excellent food at an affordable price, served with effervescence to my customers.”

Flipping the script  

The first RocoMamas was launched in Johannesburg,  July 2013. Altriche set out to attract millennials and Generation Z with a unique brand position of “We’re not normal”, which is evident in their eclectic décor, rock ‘n roll vibe, unique menu items and an open-style kitchen.

“I wanted young people to experience proper, healthy, fast food and they took the reigns by vocalising their experiences through word of mouth and social media,” says Altriche.

RocoMamas burgers are some of the most Instagrammed meals in the country and Altriche credits this as one of the contributing factors to the success of the brand. “Social media offers great communication tools for effective customer service. Once this type of media takes off, it is self-perpetuating – as long as you keep the conversation going with the customers.”

Another key factor in the brands success is that it’s a takeout joint with a restaurant sit-down culture. Altriche adds there’s really no other fast food brand in South Africa that’s achieved this.

“RocoMamas would also not be what it is if it was not providing customers with an exceptional product of high quality. This means serving burgers that use only the freshest ingredients, high quality meat with no additives, bindings and cooks who have mastered the art of preparing a great burger,” he says.

Expansions and acquisitions

Two years ago, there were only three branches throughout South Africa. Today, the brand has expanded phenomenally to include over 40 franchises.

As a franchisee with the Spur Corporation for over a decade, Altriche sold 51% of the business to the corporation and continued on as CEO.

“My deal with the Spur Corporation allowed me to have a platform to scale the business operationally to accommodate such growth, “says Altriche. “I realised I couldn’t allow for franchisees to invest in the brand without a comprehensive training and operational backbone.  Through the acquisition, RocoMamas can now leverage the professional systems and operational procedures that Spur uses within its business.”

The deal has meant many great opportunities for RocoMamas which has already expanded into the African and Middle Eastern markets with franchises in Namibia and Oman respectively. Franchises are set to open in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Mauritius in the coming months.

With all the expansions,  the main goal for Altriche is to remain relevant on a global scale while still appealing to the early adopters of the brand.

Altriche’s top business tips

  • Embrace failure as a lesson, as bitter as it can be.
  • Be grateful because the world owes you nothing.
  • Remain humble.
  • The customer is always right. If you mess up, fix it!
  • Work, work and do more work.
  • Loving WHY you do it is more important than what you do.