Catering business is thriving on multiple streams of income

Hlalefang Mzingwane, owner of Kitchen360.
Hlalefang Mzingwane, owner of Kitchen360.
Image: Fetola.

When Hlalefang Mzingwane was growing up, she watched her mother prepare delicious meals for her family.

This sparked a passion for cooking which inspired her become a qualified chef and the owner of Kitchen360, a comprehensive catering, confectionery, and events business.  

Her happy childhood memories are the reason why today she spends her days in the kitchen in Zastron, Free State preparing designer baked goods and sweet treats using locally sourced ingredients.

The demand for designer cakes at celebrations has helped to grow her business and now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted, the catering and events side of the business is also growing steadily.

Having diverse income streams is important for small businesses because when one income gets compromised, the entrepreneur can rely on other income streams to stay afloat.  

To gain diverse income streams, Mzingwane has a newly established restaurant and a truck station convenience shop. In additional to that, she also offers cooking classes and a consultancy service for hospitality start-ups.

“The name Kitchen360 symbolises a full circle which will always be complete because I’m innovative,” she said.

According to a 2020 Statistics South Africa report which asked businesses how the pandemic affected them, 42,2% of respondents indicated that they were not confident that they will have the financial resources to continue operating through the COVID19 outbreak. Half of the businesses surveyed temporarily closed their doors.

Keeping her business profitable during the pandemic is one of Mzingwane’s highlights.

“Sales increased in the fourth quarter of 2021 allowing us to move to new and bigger premises, this move has allowed my business to increase its customer base, product and service offerings,” she said.

Thriving during difficult times and seizing opportunities is what makes entrepreneurs successful.

A small business can gain market access opportunities from participating in competitions.

“I entered plenty of cooking competition where I got exposure which opened up an opportunity for me to provide catering services at parliamentary and other high-profile events,” she said,

Kitchen 360 has been operating for six years and has continued to grow despite the many challenges that small businesses are face.

“I want to inspire other food entrepreneurs across the continent to find innovative food solutions with the hope of creating more employment,” she said. Mzingwane is currently completing her cookbook where she will share her secret recipes.

The success and growth of Kitchen360 has been facilitated by having a business mentor.

“My mentor Brennan Williams has boosted my confidence, he helps me see the bigger picture and provides me with the necessary tools to effectively run my business,” she said.

Mzingwane urges other entrepreneurs to get a mentor or join business growth development programmes that will help them grow their business.