Peri-peri spicy: People, culture fuel Nando's growth

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Peri-peri spicy: People, culture fuel Nandos growth
FLAVOUR OF THE SEASON: The Nando's team during the opening of the restaurant in November

The masterminds behind the South African brand share their thoughts on well-seasoned marketing


Farhana Chowdhury

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Published: Tue 10 Dec 2019, 11:27 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 Dec 2019, 1:31 PM

Dubai - With the opening of Nando's latest outlet in The Dubai Mall, marking its 22nd casa in the UAE, the brand continues to grow strong with its concept of mi casa es su casa (our home is your home). Infusing South African culture in Portuguese-inspired cuisine, Nando's embraces its presence in the UAE, welcoming visitors with delectable offerings in a warm ambience through various branding initiatives. 
Brand vision
Armed with a scheme that consists of print, electronic, digital and social approaches, Nando's takes steps well in advance to prepare a 360-degree marketing plan on a yearly basis with clearly defined rollout, in partnership with franchisers, a marketing team in South Africa, and support from agencies.
"Our culture is a huge differentiator. The fact that we are a people-driven company makes us different from our competitors. Nando's is a brand with unique touchpoints, where people come first. Our people are special; through the programmes we host, our people, the art, design, etc. all comes together naturally because we are a creative and innovative company," said Nando's co-founder Robert Brozin. 
Speaking about its presence in the largest mall in the world, co-founder Fernando Duarte added: "Dubai Mall is probably the massive milestone for the brand, as far as its development in the UAE is concerned, and it provides huge visibility and credibility for the brand. It basically screams that we're serious about building this brand and we are here to stay."
According to Brozin, Nando's is built on five values - pride, passion, courage, integrity, and family. "We've got a lot of confidence in the way the management run the business and are proud of the way that we manage the brand in this region," said Brozin. 
It's personal
Nando's as a brand has fared well as a premium casual diner, with presence in various shopping malls, vibrant communities and high streets.
"We are part of the community and part of the culture since we've been here (in the UAE) for 17 years. So, people identify us the place that you can catch up with friends and family and take your children and it's a place where you can regularly go, unlike other premium casual dining chains," mainitained George Kunnappally, managing director, Nando's UAE LLC.
But what also keeps Nando's universal is its primary protein, the chicken; a contemporary ingredient with unlimited potential. 
"The flavour is what makes the difference - it's flame-grilled, it's peri-peri! That's the reason why the brand is still growing, even in an extremely difficult economy and regional challenges," he added, adding that the brand sources fresh chicken daily from the UAE-based Emirates Poultry.
While Nando's specialises in delectable Portuguese cuisine, it integrates local flavours, such as hummus, olives and halloumi cheese, on its menu. 
"Everything that we do is 'Nando-fied'. Even if we bring something with a Middle Eastern touch or we do something for the vegetarian populace in this part of the world, it's got a Nando's touch to it. That's what keeps the menu alive and kicking," he added. 
Splash of art
Among its social responsibility programmes, Nando's is specially dedicated to uplifting underprivileged artists from the rural areas of Africa.
"We source our art mainly from Africa, because our social responsibility programmes are based there. We go out and find people in rural areas that have the ability to produce something special, but not the means. We try and uplift in support of our people's programme, which is aimed at changing people's lives. It's about finding someone - or lots of someones; whose lives we can change, and art is one of those programmes," said Duarte.
According to Kunnappally, Nando's is one of the largest collectors of Southern African art, and each creation displayed are exclusive pieces to each of the restaurant.
The world on its plate
Nando's has more new store openings lined up, the next being in Mall of the Emirates this month. The brand aims to make critical mass in markets it already represents, and in due time, look into regional destinations, such as Kuwait, to establish a presence. 
"We're very happy with our partners, and are looking to open three more units in Saudi Arabia soon. Our growth is continuous but strateg, and for the right reasons. We've never been a brand that's about growth for the sake of growth. Our priority is to ensure that whatever we do strengthens the brand, no matter the step we take," Brozin reiterated.

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