4. Degracia Schultz & Maabele Mamabolo: Mood Food Emporium

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Originally from Pretoria, north of Johannesburg, 41-year-old Degracia began her journey into entrepreneurship 20 years ago and has never looked back.  She describes herself as a creative; is highly academic and has several qualifications which include a master’s degree. After our interview earlier, she sent an additional text message to introduce their business more concisely which reads; “Mood Food Emporium is a newly established business founded in 2020 and officially opened its doors on the 7th of March 2020. The gourmet burger, smoothie and coffee food joint is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs, namely Degracia Schultz and Maabele Mamabolo. Both individuals are seasoned entrepreneurs and have been involved in various businesses over they years. As business partners and a couple, they share some common values: creativity, people empowerment and of course, being brazen entrepreneurs. Their motto is, ‘the sky is the limit’”.


The idea to open a coffee shop was inspired by European setup when they were both overseas on a trip. Their vision was to offer something of similar elegance within the access of the township. The premises where the restaurant is located is Maabele’s former home, which led them to decide to start the restaurant there.


Degracia and Maabele engaged in some extensive research to try and understand their market, and the conclusion they reached is that people want affordable, yet unique offerings and experiences which are different from the norm. On their European coffee-shop setup menu, they have burgers which is an alternative to the popular local sandwich known as “sly vat vat”, they also sell muffins, wraps and wings. 


Recently, they also introduced cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and have plans to create their own brands for their drinks menu. They have a sense of pride in the fact that all their recipes are self-created.


Degracia identifies their first challenge as staff retention, as employees fail to commit after training resources have already been spent on them. She also mentions that their marketing is not very proactive. They are planning to procure a mobile trailer for drinks; and to open another branch in Alexandra to cover the extensive number of potential customers in the market.


We highly encourage you to read through the below piece from Wheeler Institute for Business and Development at LBS. To download the pdf, click on the thumbnail below.