Owner Operators, McDonald's South Africa

The story of brothers, Prakash and Sanjay Nathoo are a true portrayal of the entrepreneurial spirit that we enforce as an organisation.
It seems that both brothers were born with entrepreneurship in their blood, due to their father, Dhiroo Nathoo’s, whose relationship with McDonald’s started in the 1970s when he took an interest in owning a McDonald’s franchise. He was already a well-known business man in Durban at the time, who owned clothing stores, and wholesale outlets in the region but, his interest and respect for the McDonald’s brand caused him to contact McDonald’s in the US for the opportunity to open a franchise in South Africa. When McDonald’s announced their expansion to Africa in 1994 he decided to pursue the opportunity again.
Dhiroo succeeded and opened McDonald’s Old Fort Road in 1998. Sanjay worked with his father for a short while and later decided to branch off and start his own businesses dealing with web design and retail. Prakash, who was in the US at the time, worked as the corporate director of one of the largest hotel chains in America. Both brothers were doing well for themselves in the career paths they had chosen, but in 2010 tragedy struck - they’re father Dhiroo passed away suddenly.
The brothers were left with a difficult choice to make. They both wanted to honour their father’s hard work over the years in the best way possible. The two MBA graduates then decided that the best way to do this would be by taking over their father’s McDonald’s business – but this would be no simple task. “The McDonald’s standard is very high, you must know exactly how the business works before you can run it,” Prakash emphasises.
This meant that the brothers would have to go through the entire process of becoming registered McDonald’s franchisees. The two brother’s completed their training and fully concentrated their efforts into growing the business their father had left behind.
They feel that the greatest lessons they learnt from their father was the ability to take risks stating that, “If you don’t try, you will never know”. These lessons guided the brothers in expanding their business to great heights. By the end of 2012 the brothers had expanded their business and jointly owned six McDonald’s restaurants, including Old Fort Road, Pavilion, West Street, Field Street, Umhlanga, and McDonald’s Gateway.
Expanding the McDonald’s brand has always been a priority for both brothers since they took over their father’s business. Dhiroo taught them that as an entrepreneur and leader of any venture you have to “respect your employees and take care of the people who take care of you.” Applying this philosophy, amongst others, has helped the brothers to honour their father’s legacy, and build upon the knowledge he passed on to them.
Entrepreneurship is an important element of job creation and improving the economic climate of South Africa, and that’s why franchising is such an important part of the McDonald’s business. The brothers believe that, in order to be successful entrepreneurs individuals should “persevere, do their homework on the business they’re entering into, learn to take risks and be willing to work hard.” Aside from the six restaurants they opened before the end of 2012, the brothers undertook a further two restaurants which they added to their repertoire – Mount Edgecombe and Bridge City, adding up to a total of eight restaurants. The Nathoo brothers have proved that resilience and hard work can lead to success and McDonald’s hopes to see more success of this kind.