How the PRIMI franchise remains at the top of its game after 18 years


According to Sean Holmes, Marketing Director at PRIMI, over and above the rising food inflation rate, other challenges the South African restaurant industry currently faces relates to rationalising the rapid increase in operational costs. Line items such as wages and utilities are putting significant pressure on the bottom line. Businesses are forced to think out of the box in order to become more efficient operationally and at the same time drive sales.

Yet, 18 years later, the PRIMI brand is as strong as ever. Says Holmes: “The success of PRIMI can be attributed to ongoing innovation, adaptability and passion – passion for food and for people.”

The latest use of innovation introduced by PRIMI – a first for the South African restaurant industry – is the introduction of an interactive mobile device game making use of an innovative one-click engagement platform. Partnering with Smirnoff, it is the first game of its kind in South Africa whereby patrons can win instant prizes or the exclusive (grand prize)  - a R30 000 Smirnoff experience for the winner and friends.

Holmes comments: “Consumers nowadays want to interact and engage in real time, and the gaming platform enables us to facilitate this interaction in-store at table level. Not only can we interact this way via the consumer’s mobile device in a fun way, but we can also reward the consumer in real time. This will be in the way of a voucher or coupon, which in turn will be received by the customer whilst at the table, enabling it to be redeemed instantly.”

Over and above this innovation, PRIMI also recently underwent a massive revitalising exercise, including a name and logo change, the introduction of a new menu and more. Amongst others, this also included a new state-of-the-art-pizza oven imported from Italy, that combines traditional wood-fired baking with innovative gas-burner technology. The result is an oven than that reaches up to 450 degrees Celsius and a perfectly baked pizza. With the redesign of the restaurant, each store also creates its own visual identity, including graffiti art, which embraces its local context and the personality of the restaurateur. 

Holmes explains: “As with the life cycle of all brands, innovation and creative thinking is key in order to shift the curve and maintain relevance in an ever-evolving consumer driven market. Technology has enabled and expedited the implementation of global trends across multiple markets and regions, creating a far more competitive landscape. Brands are now not only compared amongst their local counterparts, but also on a global scale. Given the seamless flow of information available, there really is no excuse not to keep abreast with international trends.”

PRIMI will continue to evolve its menu offering, maintain the traditional craft of artisan food, push boundaries on service delivery and enhance the restaurants’ physical space by drawing inspiration from global trends, states Holmes.

He concludes: “At PRIMI, we believe the future is tradition and as such we call upon recipes dating back over two hundred years. Great effort is being made to source pure ingredients, without any artificial additives.”

For more information on PRIMI, visit The PRIMI gaming experience is available at

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