Roman's Pizza CEO John Nicolakakis has allegedly been caught on an audio clip threatening war with rival pizzeria owners, as he believes they have stolen his business plan, Times Select reported. He alleges that one of his rivals used his business plan to open a new store in King William's Town.
He reportedly threatened to "burn them down" and "go to war with them".
"I don't care, boet, you want war, we go to war," he can be heard saying.
The rivals who are now at "war" with Roman's are 2 Brothers Pizza in King William's Town, owned by Reno Ioannou, Rebels Pizza owned by Anthony Velissaridis and Take 2 Pizza company, owned by Dennis Alagiozoglou.
"I got cash flow coming out of my *rse boet, I swear to God I'm nice when I wanna be nice, if you f*** with me I'm gonna put your family on the f*** street," he is heard saying.
According to the Fourways Review, Nicolakakis was a joint winner of the Young Business Leader Award at the All Africa Business Awards in 2015, and Roman's is now the second-largest pizza company in the country, second to Debonairs.
He has been lauded as a South African success story.
But the recording is not his first brush with controversy.
In 2015, Romans had to pay R200,000 and publicly apologise to a Durban family, because they were refused a licence to operate a halaal franchise of Roman's because they were not Muslim, according to the Sunday World. The family is Hindu.
The process for the family to become a franchisee was reportedly well under way until they asked about halaal certification, and were told "that would be a problem" as they were Hindu.
In ruling against Roman's, the Equality Court reportedly said, "...the conduct and policy of [Roman's Pizza] had the insidious effect of implying that non-Muslims cannot be trusted to run a halaal franchise outlet. The impact of the exclusion and denial of this opportunity to non-Muslims on his or her right to dignity is that non-Muslims are less deserving of respect than Muslims."