How a South African Eatery Lost its Key Customers

Some of Spur’s most ardent fans have been staying away, supporting a boycott now entering its third year that has highlighted the underlying racial tensions in South African society. The boycott began in 2017 when Spur sided with a black woman who was in a confrontation with a white man at a franchise in Johannesburg. But the continuing campaign against the chain — promoted by South Africa’s most prominent groups that advocate white-minority rights — reflects something more profound than lingering bitterness over that dispute. Founded in 1967, Spur helped introduce American-style casual dining to South Africa at a time when the country’s racial policies were increasingly making it an international pariah. Franchises spread quickly, and the chain became one of the country’s most recognizable brands. Black South Africans now account for about 65 percent of the customers at the nation’s more than 280 Spur franchises, according to an internal report prepared for the company. But individual franchises still depend heavily on white customers. Sales have slowly recovered nationwide. But business is still not back to normal at some locations.SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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