Our last stop in Johannesburg was at Nando’s, a restaurant chain famous in South Africa (and around the world) for its show-stopping peri-peri grilled chicken. The company is a confluence of global forces: a South African company serving Portuguese-inspired chicken in 1300 locations around the world. The result is fantastically delicious – and a surprising business to boot.
We kicked off the meeting with an office tour. Nando’s headquarters looks like an advertising agency, with big windows, lots of color, and plenty of co-working spaces. The company prides itself on its casual, low-key culture, which clearly shows through in its offices. The capstone is the art displayed throughout the office: Nando’s actively purchases and supports local artists, filling its offices and global restaurant chains with South African art.
Our visit itself was a fascinating look into the company’s business model. While a global firm, Nando’s still makes many of its decisions “on gut,” such as where to expand next, and encompasses three total business models (including company owned stores and franchised stores.) Nando’s considers itself an emotional brand, espouses values that reinforce this: the company seems as committed to its values – people, product, and place – as its loyal fanbase is to the brand.
We finished off the day with a fantastic meal with some of the Nando’s team before making our way to the airport.