KUMAKWANE – You have probably heard of Hometown Pizza through various social media platforms or have been to the establishment to grab a bite. The name has become synonymous with people especially among the younger generation from the city who want to escape the city atmosphere occasionally for a breath of fresh air coupled with what tastes like a home-made pizza.
Hometown Pizza is situated in Kumakwane village in Kweneng district, 25 km West of the capital city Gaborone. It is owned by Tshepo Monthe (35).
Hometown pizza has seen a tremendous growth since its inception in 2019. Solving a problem that he had when he started, Monthe has managed to build a proper structure for his business. What started as a road side open kitchen built with corrugated iron sheets has now upgraded to a much more appealing kitchen, built with pallets, giving it a modern street vibe.
Realizing there was a niche in the street market, Monthe built a traditional pizza oven and started trading.
He built his own pizza oven from scratch which made starting his pizza business even more cheaper to start, he says.
Monthe started this business because of the love he has for food. And owning a restaurant has always been a dream of his. His first attempt was in 2016 with a coffee shop which he says failed. But this time around he is sure about his story and has learned from his past mistakes.
He says his customers love the taste of his pizza and they feel good knowing they are supporting a local business. Mexican pizza still remains a favorite amongst the many flavors that he offers.
His is a skill that has been honed and acquired over the years from an array of pizza franchises he worked for in Botswana before starting his business.
He has a vision to own a franchise one day and to make sure this happens he spends a lot of time and effort improving his product quality and service. He continues to refine his brand quality, set up, menu and the look and feel of the environment.
Monthe says business hasn’t been stable since the beginning of Covid-19 and State of Public Emergency (SoE) but he remains hopeful that things will look up as the festive fever builds up.
“Business is up and down but we are expecting a turnaround during the festive season. At the moment business is mostly good on weekends,” he states.
Monthe has a plan of introducing more products on the menu. And the plan is to use the same oven. He says pastas, roasted chicken, wedges are some of the foods his customers should expect on the menu very soon.
He currently has three employees with two more support staff coming in on weekends to assist.
In ten years he wants to have his brand all over the country and even in some hotels and he also wants to go heavily into manufacturing ovens including mobile ones.
He has already built three ovens so far for a customer in Phakalane the other at a farm in Molepolole and Mmadinare.
He is currently the only one in Kumakwane selling pizza in the street market but he knows it’s only a matter of time until competition starts building up.
Monthe hopes to one day own the spot where he is currently located so that he can improve and develop it further. He says this will also allow him to operate longer hours and employ more people. Not owning this plot means he has to pack and go home with his belongings every day, something which he says will not be sustainable in the long run.
He urges Batswana to continue supporting various locally owned businesses. He says small businesses must also invest in their branding, work with designers to create amazing artwork for their businesses.