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Ancora

Spur, traditionally a family dining restaurant, has a new addition: a drive-through outlet situated in Karenpark, Pretoria.

In a statement this week Spur said, the company had come up with new menu innovations including snack meals such as “tripchips”, handheld breakfasts as well as roadhouse-style desserts on-the-go especially for those who never want to leave their cars.

The restaurant also has most of the traditional Spur restaurant menu along with the special drive through offers.

Globally, the drive-through alternative has become restaurants’ saving grace during the era of social distancing, while sit-down restaurants generally struggle to attract patrons, even when lockdown rules allow them to operate freely.

As soon as we drove into the Spur complex, we caught a whiff of the food cooking, that Spur flame-grill smell.

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Spur’s new drive-through restaurant. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

A the name implies, it was a fairly quick and easy process to get our hands on the food…

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Spur drive-through, Pretoria. (Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

…with the order – from paying to collecting it – taking just a little over four minutes.

Then we paid at the second window. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

We were starved and wanted to dig into a big meal, one of Spur’s most loved, the T-bone steak with some onion rings and chips. But, we were told the option was not available on the drive-thu menu and that we’d have to dine-in for it.

The meat options available were pork ribs and chicken combos, and so we settled for Spur’s 400g pork ribs with vegetables and chips.

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And then the food came. (Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 
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Done in five minutes. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

The vegetable order of butternut and spinach came hot in a takeaway box container….

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A side of butternut and spinach. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

…and the ribs in a foil-lined brown packet to retain the heat. 

 
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400g pork ribs. (Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 
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The ribs in a brown packet lined with foil to retain heat. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 
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We wished the ribs came in a container. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

As soon as we opened the ribs, we wished they had come in a box takeaway container though; to make for easy, on-the-go eating.

Then we finally got a plate.

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Then we finally got a plate. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 

As promised, the menu did have options not available on the Spur sit down menu such as boerewors and hotdogs and a selection of to-go desserts like the choc brownie one we got. Over an hour later, the cream and chocolate sauces had not melted into each other.

We loved the dessert; it wasn’t overpowering in sweetness and made for easy eating, although, you’ll probably have to eat it using a spoon to get the brownie from the bottom of the cup.

 
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Choc brownie dessert for the road. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

So how do the menus differ? You won’t find all the burgers, for one.

We thought the drive-thru menu had a wide enough range of food options, from breakfast and all-day burgers to meat combos and boerewors rolls. The kids are catered for too, although, not extensively.  

For committed red meat lovers, the menu might be tricky to select from though. You won’t find any of Spur’s steaks if you go via the drive-through option. Not the New York Sirloin, not the Cheesy Garlic Prawn Steak, not even a good old fillet cut.

But, it did have a full chicken combo and ribs, wings, and chicken combos.

For the burger enthusiasts, its quite a thin menu too, especially if you’re a fan of something more exciting like Spur’s Goodie Burger with a pineapple ring in the middle. 

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Spur drive-through menu. (Image: Business Insider/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

The drive through menu only has five of the 19 burgers on the sit in menu. These are:

  • Spur Burger
  • Cheese
  • Cheese & Bacon
  • Beyond Burger
  • Cheddamelt/Peppermelt

We were excited to see new additions not available in the restaurants. The menu has specialty items such as boerewors rolls, cheese griller hotdogs, and a hake and chips meal.

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New hand held food items. (Image: Business Insider SA/Ntando Thukwana)
 

 

Overall, we rate the drive-through option highly given the convenience it comes with. It’s not everynday that you get a rack of ribs prepped in five minutes.

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Ancora

It has been a tough year for the retail sector, and at some point, people were talking about a “retail apocalypse”. But the owner of Mdantsane City Shopping Centre says negativity around retail was misplaced. If anything, there are “exciting” times ahead.

During the presentation of the company’s annual results for the year ended on 31 March, Vukile Property Fund CEO Laurence Rapp said the upheavals that malls faced since the pandemic hit SA shores have brought a sense of “renaissance” to retailing. Instead of bringing malls to their knees, the pandemic ushered the industry into a new era with even greater possibilities.

Rapp said while many took a negative view predicting the end of brick-and-mortar shopping as people move online and mass tenant failures last year, tenants are still running their shops. Vukile’s vacancies have held steady, and shoppers are flocking back to brick-and-mortar stores.

“Every time a shopping centre has opened, every time restrictions were lifted the customers flocked back. Are we seeing a situation where shoppers are not going to come back? Where they’ll spend their lives sitting at home shopping online? I think we can say comfortably that hypothesis has been proved incorrect,” said Rapp.

Vukile has R33 billion worth of assets, of which 49% is in South Africa, and 51% is in Spain held through its Madrid listed subsidiary Castellana Property Socimi.  

In SA, it predominantly owns rural centres, high street retail buildings and township shopping malls whose customer footfall held steady throughout the pandemic because of their exposure to essential retailers like grocery supermarkets.

But Rapp said retail shopping data from across the globe shows that customers are flocking back to brick-and-mortar shopping regardless of where the malls are located.

“The general trend is that all shoppers are coming back to all shopping centres at different paces. The higher the pace, they’re coming back is probably a function of the nature of the shopping centre, where more convenience and localised centres are getting a higher footfall, whereas your bigger destination malls will take a bit more time to get feet coming back,” he said.

 

It’s not doom and gloom; it’s exciting

Rapp said while rapid changes are going on in the retail sector, no one knows the extent to which retail will return to its “old” normal. He thinks the new normal will retail a lot of the old normal.

What Vukile has observed in its local and Spanish operations is that while online shopping has grown, that did not happen at the exclusion of visiting physical stores.

“It’s online and offline. It’s the omnichannel world. That is a trend that’s now firmly established, and that is what the future of retail is going to look like,” he added.

Rapp said while generic data coming out shows that 91% of customers favour both online and in-store shopping, only 9% of consumers say that they’re only going to do online shopping in the future. He said even though more people dabbled in online retail for the first time, there has not been a fundamental structural shift in shopping patterns.

He pointed out estimates show an increased number of online shoppers during the lockdowns; online sales still make up only 2% of total retail sales in SA compared with 16% in the rest of the world. But even in Spain, where online shopping is more advanced than in SA, online sales penetration increased to only 8.7% from 6%, and data predicts that it will still be below 10% by 2025.

The company’s retail tenants also want shoppers back in the stores, indicating that online shopping has not been profitable. They’ve missed out on high-margin impulse purchases, and the delivery costs are eating into their bottom lines. So, Vukile is now investing heavily in technology to “digitally transform” its shopping centres.

 

“It does mean that we may come up with clever solutions in terms of maybe one delivery vehicle or delivery service from a shopping centre. Maybe there’ll be storage facilities in a shopping centre,” said Rapp.

He said the company is looking at how it can start using space available at malls for online fulfilment so that tenants won’t need separate warehouses and separate delivery infrastructure.

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