Nando’s operates a chain of licensed fast-casual restaurants based around the Portuguese-Mozambique speciality of fresh flame-grilled chicken spiced with peri-peri (the African bird’s-eye chilli). Nando’s was founded in South Africa and has expanded around the world through franchising.
The UK arm is owned by Capricorn Ventures International (CVI) which, in concert with TDR Capital, snapped up PizzaExpress in 2003 and Ask Central in 2004 to become the UK’s fourth largest restaurant group. CVI also owns The Grocery Company which runs the last surviving Cranks vegetarian restaurant (in Devon) and sells Nando’s and Cranks branded products to supermarkets.
Managing director, UK: Robby Enthoven
International chief financial officer: Les Perlman
Enthoven has been credited with breaking new ground with Nando’s by bridging the gap between fast food and traditional restaurants.
But the first two outlets in the UK failed to take off initially and were struggling when Enthoven took over. Realising that the focus on takeaway sales that had been imported from the South African operation was not working in the UK, he successfully revamped the concept to give more emphasis to restaurant branding and design. Restaurants now average around 80 seats and takeaway sales have fallen from 40% to 20% of the sales mix.
The chain grew quickly and by 2002, when Enthoven won the Catey Restaurateur of the Year Award, it totalled 50 branches turning over £50m a year. Since then, the chain has doubled in size (to 100 outlets at the start of 2005) while maintaining healthy profits.
Nando’s philosophy is to have fun while making a profit. Restaurants are designed to reflect a family home and staff and guests are encouraged to feel like part of an extended family. Back in 1995, Enthoven introduced a scheme to allow restaurant managers to become partners in the business. This family ethos saw Nando’s make its first entry into the Sunday Times list of the UK’s best 100 employers in 2005, which it entered at number 33.
Number of Nando’s restaurants worldwide: more than 400 in 30 countries.
Number of UK stores: 100
Number of staff in the UK: 2,500
Address:148 Upper Richmond Road