Louise Marsland (@Louise_Marsland)’s weekly pick of recent product, packaging, design and food launches:

  • Gourmet date for Spur
  • Marriott extends footprint in South Africa
  • a fashionable start for Fashion Media, and
  • Career24 beach activation works hard

Spur Group takes a bite of RocoMamas

RocoMamasMulti-brand fast-food restaurant group, Spur, is buying a majority 51% stake in RocoMamas, the Gauteng-based niche ‘gourmet’ burger and rib outlet.

RocoMamas, which will now also be offered as a franchise, provides hand-made “smash-style” burgers, ribs and wings, with all orders prepared fresh, on site, tapping into the artisanal-style food trend of craft, ‘homemade’ and co-creation with customers. Part of the attraction is that diners get to co-create their dishes from a wide range of freshly made add-ons, including all the gourmet sauces.

And, if you were wondering what a ‘smash’ burger was (I did), it is a “smashed-to-order burger crafted from three different fresh mince specifications for optimum taste and texture”, flavoured with a secret seasoning mix and then “seared under intense heat and pressure to keep it juicy”.

RocoMamas was launched in July 2013 by Brian Altriche, who already owned two Spur franchises. In less than 18 months, he has grown RocoMamas to four restaurants in the greater Johannesburg area, with another three in the pipeline for 2015.

Altriche will continue as CEO of RocoMamas. “The RocoMamas’s positioning of ‘we’re not normal’ highlights our differentiation from the mainstream fast-food dining experience. Our menu is small but can be individualised, so it becomes more interactive, with guests collaborating on the outcome of their dishes. To accent our handmade approach, we also offer craft beers, in addition to the more mainstream brands,” he says.

Spur Corporation’s CEO, Pierre van Tonder, comments that the RocoMamas concept is ideal for the current market, what with the public hungry for new flavours: “The response rate from potential franchisees, who recognise this, has been overwhelming, with interest being shown well beyond the country’s borders. Our expansion strategy will also benefit from the group’s relationship with an extensive network of property owners and landlords.”

A year ago, the Spur Corporation acquired The Hussar Grill franchised network of eight grill houses in the Western Cape. Apart from Spur Steak Ranches, also in the group is: John Dory’s Fish Grill Sushi; Panarottis Pizza Pasta; and Captain DoRegos. The group’s presence is predominantly in SA, with a total of 503 outlets, but extends to Australia, the UK and Ireland, as well as elsewhere in Africa, with branches in Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Mauritius.

Marriott grows Protea

The new Protea Hotel MowbrayMarriott International will open its first southern suburbs hotel in Cape Town through the Protea Hotel Group, which it acquired in 2014.

A historic Cape Dutch manor house bordering the Liesbeek River, built in about 1880 on a green estate that has seen development since the 1660s, will open its doors as Protea Hotel Mowbray on 1 February 2015. The hotel’s 70 rooms and suites are spread throughout the manor house and the adjacent thatched building that used to serve as the manor’s barn but now houses loft suites.

“Protea Hotels has for several years been seeking an opportunity to create a brand presence in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, but none of the previous prospects were exactly right. The signing of this new hotel under the Protea Hotels brand reinforces our focus on continuing to grow the footprint of the brand in SA and other strategic growth areas within Africa,” says Mark Satterfield, Marriott International business leader in SA.

According to Satterfield, the natural growth trajectory for the brand in Cape Town has been in the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard. Protea Hotel Mowbray’s main target markets will be corporate travellers, the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) industry, domestic leisure travellers with a particular focus on families, and the sports groups which play at the many surrounding fields and clubs.

This week in Davos at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Marriott International said that it expected its portfolio of hotels, either open or under development, to surpass 1m rooms by the end of 2015. When open, the hotels under development will have generated more than US$50bn in real estate investment globally by Marriott’s owner partners, and created over 150 000 anticipated new hotel jobs. The company also expects its robust growth will continue in the Middle East and Africa, where Marriott’s portfolio could expand by more than 75%.

Fashion Media finds its hotspot

Fashion Media activation for EdgarsFashion Media has introduced two more advertising platforms in store, namely the hotspot and activation pad, with Clinique as the first campaign client in a ‘Gift with a Purchase’ offering to Edgars’ customers.

The activation pad is essentially a ‘centre court’ within Edgars, where brands can accentuate their offering to shoppers who walk in store. Here they can view a product range and trial certain products before purchase.

The hotspot is a newly introduced advertising platform that acts as a standalone ‘outpost’ to generate awareness of the product offering.

Sean Reed, Fashion Media MD, explains: “Apart from strategically branding national Edgars stores with Clinique pack shots on our standard windows and sensormatic platforms (security beepa sleeves), in Sandton we introduced a platform called the activation pad, and nationally we introduced the hotspot into 31 Edgars outlets.

“This type of promotion is a great way for consumers to trial their free gift products which may be cosmetics or products they haven’t purchased or had access to before.”

Careers24 sandblasts holidaymakers

Careers24 sand sculptureSand sculptor Reon Zeff with his Careers24 sand sculptureThis was a fun, local awareness activation from Careers24 on 29 December 2014, targeted at beachgoers on Camps Bay beach in Cape Town: an ‘office’ was sculpted out of sand to remind holidaymakers of what they could be going back to in January — and giving them options if they didn’t want to!

The standard office fare — filing cabinet, laptop, wilted-looking pot plant — were sculpted by sand sculptor, Reon Zaff, with the lettering: “Careers24 — Can you go back to this? #Careerpride.”

As Nadia Boucher Coombe, head of marketing for, explains: “The end or beginning of a year is typically the period where people reflect on the past year, and are open to considering different directions. We wanted to remind people — in a fun and memorable way — that, if the sight of their office fills them with dread, they have the power to change this and get a career they can be proud of.”


Shelf Life is a weekly column by Louise Marsland. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland Louise Marslandor email her at louise.marsland at Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Louise has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for over 20 years as a former editor of magazines AdVantage, Marketing Mix and Progressive Retailing, as well as websites and FMCGFiles. She also edited the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper. She is currently the publishing editor of industry trendwatching portal, TRENDAFRiCA, for consumer insight, research and trends in Africa; a regular industry columnist and speaker; a consultant on content strategy; and contributing editor to Fast Company South Africa magazine, which has just launched in South Africa.

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