SOUTH AFRICA – Flame-grilled chicken restaurant chain Nando’s is embarking on a major revamp programme in its South African stores, as it adds more outlets to its 300-plus local portfolio.

The brand, arguably one of SA’s most famous exports, has a presence in 30 countries worldwide including Fiji, Singapore and Bangladesh.

“In SA, we’re opening around 20 (new stores) a year and we have a major relocation and revamp programme that will add larger, more beautiful stores,” said Nando’s Southern Africa CEO Geoff Whyte on Tuesday. While menu items are largely the same with a few differences here and there to fit market nuances, its international restaurants are typically larger.

As its primary banker, Nedbank recently granted a R320m borrowing facility to Nando’s. The 28-year-old fast-food chain, known for its cheeky adverts, was started from a single outlet at the corner of Main and Ferreira roads in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, by Robbie Brozin and his friend Fernando Duarte.

The privately-owned company’s first backer was billionaire insurance magnate Dick Enthoven. Two thirds of the stores are franchised and the remaining are company owned.

In the rest of Africa it has operations in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“We have done very well in the UK, we have more chains there than in SA. And we’re approaching 300 stores in Australia. In the US, we just expanded into Chicago,” Mr Whyte said.

The company, which also supplies its sauces to UK supermarkets Tesco and Sainsburys, only uses South African art in its Portuguese-style chicken chains.

Chicken remains the strongest fast-food category in SA. Euromonitor International research notes that the value of SA’s chained fast-food chicken category is worth about R11.43bn.

May 15, 2015;