Nando’s CEO - Who is it?

nandos ceo

Over the last two decades, few brands can claim to have been as successful in the UK market as Nando’s. The Portuguese-inspired chicken chain is now one of the country’s biggest brands and continues to grow its operations around the globe. Here, we take a look at the history of the chain, why it has been so successful, and who is leading the organisation as its CEO.

What is Nando’s?

Nando’s is a casual dining restaurant chain that serves Portuguese-inspired chicken that’s marinated in the brand’s distinctive and world-famous peri-peri sauces. Originally from South Africa, the chain has experienced enormous international growth and now operates on five continents and in a remarkable number of countries.

The company has run highly influential marketing campaigns, successfully manufactured a widespread social media following, and became something of a viral phenomenon in the UK when the Peri Boyz released the parody “cheeky Nando’s.” The incredible popularity of the song ensured that “cheeky Nando’s" became the catchphrase of the summer and could be heard up and down high streets across the UK. It also cemented the restaurant chain's position as one of the country's best-loved eateries.

What’s on the Nando’s menu?

The Nando’s menu is primarily built around marinated chicken. Customers can choose between various parts of the chicken (e.g. wings, thighs, and breasts) or opt for a whole, half, or quarter chicken. The extensive range of peri-peri sauces that customers can choose to have their chicken cooked in provides variety.

However, Nando’s also offers a wide range of alternatives to chicken. As with most casual dining restaurants, burgers and wraps are available, as are steak rolls and a considerable number of sides. The restaurant also boasts an impressive vegetarian menu for all those non-meat eaters out there.

A brief history of Nando’s

Established in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1987, Nando’s is the perfect example of a beautiful collision of cultures and taste sensations. The company’s story begins with Portuguese-born Fernando Duarte taking his friend Robert Brozin to a Portuguese restaurant in Johannesburg. The pair were so impressed after trying the chicken (and peri-peri) that they chose to buy the restaurant. Paying approximately £25,000 for the business, they decided to rename it in honour of Duarte’s first son - Fernando.

The restaurant chain expanded rapidly and by 1989 had grown to encompass three restaurants in Johannesburg and another in Portugal. By 1992, the business was ready to develop further, and the brand looked towards the UK market. Its first restaurant opened in Ealing, London. Emerging at a time when consumers were growing increasingly fed up with large, faceless food brands like McDonald’s, Nando’s struck a chord with the UK public and hasn’t looked back since. Now, the restaurant chain operates approximately 350 restaurants around the country.

What has made Nando’s such a success?

Nando’s success can be attributed to many factors. First and foremost, it has built a remarkably talented marketing team that understands the power of modern technology in building a brand. While the company has benefited from user-generated content and campaigns, it has also worked hard to capitalise on these campaigns and to develop its brand around viral, user-generated content.

Second, the Nando’s menu is ideally suited to UK consumers’ palates and UK food culture as a whole. Consumers were prepared for the spice of Nando’s peri-peri sauces by decades of eating at Indian and Southeast Asian curry houses and were ready for a new and exciting cuisine to break into the mainstream. Nando’s did just that at exactly the right time – as the casual dining scene was taking off. In this sense, Nando’s has been riding the perfect wave since it entered the UK market in 1992 and smart business and marketing decisions have ensured it has remained on it.

Where does Nando’s operate?

Besides the UK, South Africa, and Portugal, Nando’s operates in a further 32 countries. These include Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana (amongst others) in Africa. As well as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, and Singapore (amongst others) in Asia and Canada, the US, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, too. In total, the chain operates approximately 1,000 chains across the globe. This means that roughly one-third of all Nando’s restaurants are located in the UK.

Do Nando’s franchise?

Currently, Nando’s do not franchise in either the UK or Ireland. The business has also gone on record as saying that there are absolutely no plans to offer franchise opportunities in the future. Internationally, Nando’s have franchising opportunities in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

CEO of Nando’s

The current CEO of Nando’s is Andrew Lynch. Having worked for the SSP Group, Compass Group, KPMG, and Traveller’s Fare, Mr Lynch was appointed CEO of Nando’s in January 2014 and has remained in the position ever since. His experience leading large and complex multinationals made him an obvious candidate for the role, and his proven record of success building shareholder value ensured he was a shoo-in for the position.

Andrew Lynch’s work at Nando’s

One of the critical tasks Mr Lynch faces as CEO of Nando’s is streamlining and reorganising the company structure. Over the years, Nando’s has evolved organically and in a slightly haphazard way. This has resulted in a complicated and convoluted structure that needs to be simplified and clarified. The CEO will also attempt to grow the business further, opening new locations in both the UK and abroad.

Are there franchise alternatives to Nando’s?

As Nando’s do not offer franchising opportunities to investors in the UK, interested parties will have to look at other possibilities. For instance, Franzos is a clear competitor. Modelled as an alternative to Nando’s, the franchise believes that the grilled chicken market is just too large to be dominated by a single business. Consequently, it hopes to muscle in on Nando’s large market share. Alternatively, investors could look to alternative cuisines, such as Wolf’s Italian street food or Loaded Burgers’ gourmet burgers.

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