Nando’s launches new-look restaurantsNovember 7th, 2011 by Susan Reynard | Categories: environmental, food, restaurants
Nando’s has launched a new-look for its restaurants, currently being rolled out across Africa. In keeping with the spirit of the Portuguese explorers that are part of the brand’s image, food, advertising campaigns and restaurants, the numerous new restaurants and 60 revamps across Southern Africa feature an eclectic and adventurous design, with an emphasis on South African contemporary art, and Afro-centric artisanal work and craft.
At the heart of the new-look Nando’s restaurants is ensuring that both take-away and dine-in customers enjoy an exciting yet comfortable and practical experience.
Each new restaurant features a specially-designed hand-wash basin in the dining area itself – just what’s needed before and after eating Nando’s flame-grilled chicken with your hands. The new designs have also paid close attention to the take-away customer who makes up significant portion of Nando’s South Africa’s business: welcoming couch areas and comfortable seating, direct lines-of-sight into the dine-in eating area and visual elements are all part of the new design. Unusual and quirky design details, like copper cladded or glass bead covered columns, add to the visual appeal of the new-look Nando’s restaurant.
Since its first beginnings in 1987, Nando’s has emphasised individual experience. The new-look offers four different themes or designs, created by the Nando’s marketing team in close co-operation with global design firm, Enigma Design. Each one delivers a different experience to Nando’s customers, with the brand’s signature quirky and irreverent, yet homely and friendly environment running through all of them.
In addition, Nando’s South Africa has increased its support of local artists and each of the new-look restaurants feature work by local crafters and artisans, ensuring that no two restaurants look the same.
By early July 2011, prototypes of these four themes had been built – the first in Nando’s Church Square, Pietermaritzburg, followed by Nando’s Gandhi Square in Johannesburg, Nando’s Carlton Centre and Midlands Mall in Pietermaritzburg.
Sepanta Bagherpour, Nando’s South Africa marketing manager, describes the new-look restaurants as “the most important manifestation of the Nando’s brand”.
He says: “The brief for the new designs was driven by Nando’s marketing division as being a key part of how our customers experience the brand. We really wanted to remind our customers that Nando’s was the first fast-food outlet to give customers a nuanced and unique eating and ordering experience – even the early restaurant designs had natural textures, were convivial and inviting, and featured what we now call Afro-Portuguese elements.
“That needed to be combined with our signature elements of irreverence and adventure to create something that got as far away from the cookie-cutter fast-food store design approach as possible. We also wanted to bring the direct experience our customers have with our brand within a restaurant closer to the way they experience the marketing and advertising aspect of the Nando’s brand.”
John Cope, interior architect and conceptual designer at Enigma believes that there are very few – if any – other premium fast-food brands that have been able to execute this vision as well as Nando’s.
“This has been one of the most exciting projects we have ever worked on. We had an amazing brief from Sepanta and Nando’s marketing director, Quinton Cronje, who challenged us to create designs that would ensure that no two restaurants are exactly the same. This is possible when you have small numbers but we are looking at close to 100 or more going forward.
“It’s been a challenge and we’ve had to work with the team at getting the operations and commercial elements balanced as well. But in the end I believe there is no other fast-food chain in the world that has done what Nando’s have in South Africa,” says Cope.
Adds Cronje, “We are really thrilled with the results of what has been a true collaborative effort by Enigma and the Nando’s team. At the start we wanted to deliver an experience to our customers that’s in keeping with Nando’s heritage but that also reflects the quirky, pretty unique family that our customers are part of.”
Other key elements that have surfaced during this intense period of interior redesign include a growing commitment to the use of recycled materials and sustainable design. In addition, Nando’s has revamped many of its chairs and other items with new padding and fabric coverings.
Customers can also look out for a feature counter (kiln-fired glass, wood panels, mosaic, pressed tin ceilings) as they enter, an open grill that allows them to see their food being cooked, a reflection of Nando’s heritage and stories (a strong feature of previous store designs that continues in the new-look) on the walls, entertaining internal signage and unusual lighting.
“This is about giving our customers an eating experience that calls on all the senses – seeing the Afro-Portuguese inspired elements and food being cooked, hearing their fellow customers and a humming kitchen, smelling the peri-peri and chicken grilling, touching the tactile materials we’ve used and, to cap it all, tasting Nando’s unique and original peri-peri chicken,” says Bagherpour.