Following retrenchment from a stable job, Umlazi entrepreneur, Thuladu Mngadi (39) was required to rapidly think of other means of earning a living. It was after realising the hardships of finding employment, despite her paralegal qualification and experience, that she decided to go a different route by starting her own restaurant and catering company that boasts serving the finest food in Durban.
Located in the bustling Durban Station, Fresh Food Daily, a product of Maluthingo (Pty) Ltd has been up and running since October 2015. Consisting of 5 permanent and 9 temporal staff who assist with catering for events, the restaurant provides food services in and around the station. From office staff, to train commuters and long-distance bus commuters, Mngadi and her staff members are accustomed to dealing with volumes of people at a time.
Predominantly serving hearty meals; which include: starch, stews and curries, the restaurant has recently added a fast food menu to accommodate those who are on the go and are not able to sit down and enjoy a plate of good, hot food.
Although faced with many challenges when she resolved to be her own boss, Mngadi says that she was determined because she would finally express her creative personality through the art of cooking. Finding a suitable location for a restaurant proved to be her most difficult task, as she had a lot to consider. She had thought of lucrative places like Florida Road, but the high rent rates were enough to demotivate her.
“I was very scared to start a business on such a high market area. I was scared to fail but I told myself that I didn’t want to go to a taxi rank and the idea of the Durban Station just popped up in my head.”
Before starting, Mngadi had done extensive research which has benefited her business a great deal. Firstly, she had to find out who was in her line of business interest and what they were doing. She knew that if she wanted to succeed among her immediate competitors she had to find a unique selling point, which is why she initially went the African cuisine route.
The addition of catering (as a Fresh Food Daily service) has also proven to work in the company’s favour as it enjoys new gigs almost every weekend. Their biggest catering projects thus far include: the Impucuzeko Maskandi Festival, the 2017 Essence Festival and also catering for various government departments.
For Mngadi, the atmosphere and hygiene of any restaurant are huge draw cards. She says that the first thing people notice when they walk into Fresh Food Daily is the cleanliness of the place, as she also loves working on clean spaces. The restaurant is nothing short of good music, delicious food and an amazing vibe. She invites people to stop by, and adds that no matter the company at your table, you will not be robbed of a great time!
Fresh Food Daily is located at 65 Masabalala Yengwa (NMR) Avenue, PRASA Building, Durban Station. Follow Thuladu on Instagram: @2ladu_ or drop her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Thabile Shange