Nando’s CEO - Who is it?

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nandos ceo

Originally posted on 27/12/2018. Updated on 28/05/2019.

Half of our meat consumption is chicken. Its versatility makes it a great high-protein and low-saturated-fat addition to salads, whilst also being a classic comfort food when deep fried and bought by the bucketload. For these reasons it is a universal and popular food product enjoyed all over the world. As well as many of us incorporating chicken into our home cooking, it is also a popular choice when dining out. One food brand where the foodstuff is at the centre of its offering is Nando’s.


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 chicken industry, 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 become something of a viral phenomenon in the UK after the Peri Boyz released the parody song “Cheeky Nando’s” in 2015. 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.

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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?

The success of Nando’s 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.

Secondly, the Nando’s menu is ideally suited to UK consumers’ palates and the 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. In total, the chain operates approximately 1,000 outlets across the globe. This means that roughly one third of all Nando’s restaurants are located in the UK.

Watch this space for three new Nando’s launches in the UK soon; one on George Street in Croydon, one in The Colonades in Croydon and one in Pheonix Retail Park in Linwood.

Does Nando’s franchise?

Currently, Nando’s does not franchise in either the UK or Ireland. The business has also gone on record saying that there are absolutely no plans to offer franchise opportunities in the future. Internationally, Nando’s has 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.

An Ethical Brand

With Nando’s having such a large global presence, it really has the power to make a difference to the world and the people who live in it. For instance, in 2017 it launched an initiative to join the fight against malaria. It has been raising money to fund spraying projects in Mozambique, which is actually where its Peri-peri chilli is sourced. Therefore, at all of Nando’s’ tills, it will be selling beautiful, woven bracelets that have been made in South Africa. With every bracelet that is sold, customers will help to protect two lives from malaria for a year.

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.

Similar Opportunities


This Italian street food franchise centres its food offering around fast, healthy Italian cuisine. The brand has been operating since 2015 and prides itself on using locally sourced, high-quality ingredients for its dishes. For instance, meat is purchased from farms that follow strict animal welfare standards and is marinated for at least 24 hours to give it a succulent texture and a powerful flavour. It’s strived for innovation by limiting the high levels of saturated fats and carbohydrates that are typical of many Italian dishes.

Wolf franchisees will be provided with comprehensive training and support throughout their franchising journey, including an Operations Director with over 25 years of industry experience, a four-week training programme, a tailored marketing plan, menu development and access to an existing national supply chain.

If you want to take a bite out of this opportunity, you will need to make a minimum investment of £100,000 and a total investment of £200,000, including the franchise fees of £15,000.

Loaded Burgers

This burger franchise only uses the freshest and finest ingredients available to create its topping-packed burgers. There are currently restaurants in Ilford, Stoke Newington and Liverpool, but the ambitious brand has set its sights on UK domination.

Loaded Burgers franchisees will undergo an initial training programme so they can get to grips with the business model, as well as being provided with marketing strategies, sales advice and equipment.

A minimum investment of just £25,000 is required, so you really don’t have to be loaded to become part of this franchise. The total investment is £150,000 and the franchise fees are £15,995.

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