Nando’s: Food innovation in South Africa
Robert Brozin, CEO and Founder of Nando’s Chickenland, was born in Middelburg, about 200 kilometers from Johannesburg, South Africa. After a two-year army stint, a bachelor’s degree at University, and working two years at Price Waterhouse, he moved to Teltron, a Johannesburg-based electronics company. Whilst at Teltron, Brozin was introduced to Chickenland and envisioned building a global brand. Today that dream is a major success story. Brozin bought Chickenland with good friend Fernando Duarte, changed it into Nando’s, and today Nando’s is represented in 30 countries around the globe with almost 900 restaurants.
Since opening its first restaurant in 1987, Nandos has expanded to over a thousand locations in 30 countries on five continents. Its success secrets may well lie in its marketing: Nando’s’ numerous provocative yet witty commercials, such as an ad featuring a dimwitted busty blonde and another which depicted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe reflecting on happy moments he enjoyed with fallen dictators such as Colonel Kaddafi and Saddam Hussein have made Nando’s’ flagship flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken a hit among Africa’s young and hip. Nando’s meals are premised on traditional Mozambiquan-Portuguese dietary patterns and spices such as the ‘Pili Pili’. The company also manufactures a range of sauces which are sold in Nando’s restaurants and in supermarkets.
Portuguese-Mozambican cooking history
The Portuguese settlers to Mozambique were introduced to pili pili chili by the African Mozambicans who had incorporated it in their cuisine. The term ‘pili pili’ is Swahili for ‘pepper pepper’.The settlers began to use piri piri in their own daily cooking. The restaurant has its origins in a mining town in South Africa, where many Mozambicans of Portuguese origins relocated to Johannesburg in search of gold and carried piri piri recipes to South Africa. Industries catering to the mining communities began to grow in Rosettenville, including “Chickenland”. The restaurant began in 1987 when Portuguese-Mozambican Fernando Duarte along with Robert Brozin bought a restaurant called Chickenland in Rosettenville, southern Johannesburg in South Africa.They renamed the restaurant Nando’s, after Duarte.The restaurant incorporated influences from former Portuguese colonists from Mozambique, many of whom had settled on the south-eastern side of Johannesburg, after their homeland’s independence in 1975. The logo is derived from the Rooster of Barcelos.