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The Tonka Bean Bakery in Fourways creates artisanal-baked pastries and bread. It was started by Shakin Khan, who gave up a career in the commercial world to pursue his passion for food.

How did your business start?DJI_0023-compressed

I had completed my BCom and worked for a while in the commercial world, before I decided to pursue my passion for food. I completed a culinary diploma at the Christina Martin Culinary Institute, then spent a few months at the Test Kitchen under Luke Dale Roberts. I decided to expand my knowledge of bread and pastry making, so I went to the San Francisco Banking Institute to study under Michel Suas for a few months. When I returned to South Africa, I started catering on a small scale for functions, before deciding to express my passion for artisanal-baked pastries and breads by opening the Tonka Bean Bakery. I had learnt quite a lot of about how to set up a bakery in San Francisco, and I had to twist a few arms to assist me with getting finance.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

I was fortunate to be accepted into the Riversands Incubation Hub, which provides business space at a reasonable price for entrepreneurs.DSCF2194-compressed

How did you find your premises?

The Incubation Hub let me choose from the available spaces.

Why are they ideally suited to your business?

As a new entrepreneur, I needed a business premises in a facility that could provide me with an adequate electricity supply, affordable rentals, a source of staff that lived in close proximity to the business (because the bakery opens when most people are still enjoying a good sleep) and staff that I could train. We are a few minutes away from Diepsloot, which means that we are easily accessible for staff.

Who are your neighbours?

SLA Paramedic, an ambulance and paramedic service, Afri Ceramix Studio, a ceramics studio, YaMama Gemmer, a ginger beer manufacturer, and Icarus Twilight, a sewing business.

What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?Teaching-compressed

They are reasonable as they are aimed at supporting start-ups. Qualifying candidates can rent a space for R48/m2, which is extremely competitive for the area. The Incubation Hub also offers short-term leases with no collateral requirements and no penalties for cancellation.

How many people go through your store each day?

We are closed on a Monday. From Tuesday to Thursday, we get about 50 people per day. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, we have around 100 to 150 customers per day.

 Do you have any expansion plans?

Yes, after the incubation and developing period, I would like to go into full retail and maybe franchise the business.

Do you operate online as well?IMG_6251-compressed

Yes, almost all our business is done via email orders.

What’s your most popular item?

Definitely the doughnuts and croissants.

Tonka Bean Bakery

078 078 0417 / 082 306 1932


Words: Georgina Guedes | Images: Ter Hollmann

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