Biz-Life: Side Wing

Biz-Life: Side Wing
Biz-Life is a series where we highlight local businesses, big or small, giving insight into how they operate and succeed in our economy. By interviewing those behind it all, we gain an understanding of pros, cons and what it takes to have a successful business in SA. The bonus is Shelflife get to highlight businesses that we believe in!

We got the chance to ask Ashleigh and Strone from Side Wing some questions about their Young Chicken Wing Thang, how they took the Cape's tastebuds by storm and so much more. Check it out below!

 When did Side Wing start? What’s the history behind it? 
Side Wing started as a concept three years before our official opening in 2017. We, Strone (the chef) and I (Ashleigh /photographer) worked together in the food media industry and people kept telling us how perfect our relationship is because we could easily combine our fields and make a career out of it.

We then spoke about it religiously while watching countless hours of YouTube food videos just blurting out new ideas about how we could actually achieve this dream. A food stylist we were working with at the time, lit a fire up our arses and told us to go get it, and so we did.

Strone’s social media pages were always filled with the dishes he had to make for work, and people always asked him about it, enquiring as to when and where they could sample it. Side wing offered a place for them to do that. It started with a small loan from Strone’s mom for some chicken wings and together we bought a fryer. And here we are 2 years later, doing an interview for the Shelflife blog. 

 What sets you guys apart from the crowd? 
Not many food businesses within our community are actually run by a trained chef who is also an owner. His skill allows us to serve quality meals with ethically raised ingredients. In the beginning our menu changed weekly, forcing people to try new things each week. Our menu will now change monthly, allowing customers more time to try what’s available during the month.

 Where can people find your Young Chicken Wing Thing? 
We are situated at 6 Linden Street, Ferness, Ottery, Cape Town. We are currently trading from Thursday-Saturday and hoping to open 5 days a week. 

 Do customers come from far and wide for Side Wing? 
Yes, our wings have been tasted throughout Cape Town. From the beaches of Simonstown to the CBD, it’s even been on a plane to Jozi! 

 For a first time customer, what would you recommend they order? 
We always advise you to try a full combo (burger, wings and chips). If you’re a couple, a beef combo and a chicken combo with two types of wing flavours is a good way to find your favourite. If you like heat, the buffalo (a constant on our menu) has the perfect amount of heat and is served with a blue cheese dressing. If hot is not your thing, the sweet BBQ is definitely for you and the kids love it too. 

 Which rules do you think any brand trying to make it in South Africa should follow? 
Stay true to your brand! Regardless of what you see others doing, stay true to your brand! Focus on what you set out to do and don’t get distracted by others. Remember, not everybody out there is routing for your success. 

 How big is your team? Do you do everything in-house? 
Our team is 7 men strong with one woman and a baby. 
Every patty is weighed and formed / sometimes stuffed, every chicken wing is cut, every sauce is made in-house. 
 How important do you think marketing is for a brand? 
Extremely important! Social media is free (well most of it) so why not use it to your advantage? People would not have known about us if it wasn’t for social media marketing. 


 If you could collaborate with one brand or artist, who would it be? 
Shelflife??? πŸ‘€ 
 What are some of Side Wing’s highlights as a brand? 
Being mentioned as one of Eat Outs hidden gems was truly amazing for our business. Making merch with Two Bop was always a part of our three year long discussion prior to opening and being able to actually see and wear items with both our brands on them was absolutely incredible. Working with the kids at Leliebloem is always something we hold dear to our hearts.

Also, working with Sterk Bek doing the Sterk Bek challenges on YouTube has been an awesome venture to highlight.  Opening our new space and doing it ourselves for ourselves is currently our biggest achievement though. 


 Which are the most popular items with your customers? Any that are normally sold out? 
Wings!!! We honestly don’t know how much to restock. Each week we strive to cater for more yet it’s never enough. 
 Has Side Wing added any variations to your offering over the years? 
Yes, our menu changes weekly. Offering beef /chicken burgers, sandwiches, personal Gatsby’s, ribs, chili poppers, Southern fried wings, onion rings. 


 What are the biggest hurdles/setbacks you have to deal with? 
We are self-funded with a 7month old. We’ve also realised that not everybody in your corner is routing for your success. We’ve had so many hiccups with the renovations that we’d rather not mention it in fear of increasing our anxiety. Lol.
 Does the Side Wing team have a favourite sneaker brand? 
Definitely Puma for the daily drip and Crocs for a comfortable work day.


 Any exciting plans for the future we should look out for? 
We just reopened and are focused on getting everything 100% so for now, there isn’t anything just yet. 
 Any advice to those wanting to stand out in your industry? 
Stay true to you. Anticipate the obstacles. Overcome them and move forward having learnt & grown from them. If you wouldn’t want to eat it or pay that price for it then don’t make it. Ask for help. The worst people can say is no. Hold onto your faith whatever it may be, it’s your talent for a reason.   

Want to try Side Wing? Visit them at 6 Linden Street, Ferness, Ottery, Cape Town. Also follow them @SideWing17 and check out their website.



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