Time was, only a few years ago, when fast food stocks were the “flavour” of the month (pun intended) on the JSE. The economy was growing relatively strongly, new brands were being introduced to the SA market and share prices were riding high. Fast forward to the current situation where most of them are taking a real beating and at least one of them may not exist on the JSE board in future. The main listed operators are Famous Brands, Grand Parade Investments (GPI), Spur Corporation and Taste Holdings. Since peaking at 470c in July 2015, the Taste share price has lost 97% of its value and is now trading at 14c. The main reasons for this stunning fall from grace are the languishing South African economy, coupled with some poor expansion decisions. Taking a closer look at Taste, its precipitous decline is largely the result of an overly ambitious expansion programme, notably via the purchase of Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks franchises. Prior to these acquisitions, Taste was bumbling alo...

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