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Creativity and Innovation in South Africa--Nando's Chicken

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 03, 2010

When I was in South Africa recently, I had dinner at an art school sponsored by Robbie Brozen, President of Nando’s, an 800-restaurant global chain that sells grilled chicken with Mozambique-Portuguese Peri Peri sauce. The restaurants, started in South Africa and now are over much of Asia. Two Nando’s recently opened in Washington DC and more are coming.

Check out Nando’s website for the experience of the enterprise. Nando’s knows how to design an emotional experience in its restaurants. Whoever designed the site really got that culture. Not only is the Peri Peri sauce a culinary experience in its own right, the walls of the restaurants are covered with paintings from young and up-coming local artists sponsored by the company. Visually, Nando’s is both beautiful, personal and full of pride for local creatives. It is like the Apple Store, a well-designed consuming experience.

The ads for Nando here and here are hillarious. This last also shows the art on the wall. Who did these ads? And the others that you should check out on YouTube?

Rob Brozen told me he was thinking of stepping back from the day to day operations at Nando’s and become the Chief Creativity Officer. The fast expansion of the chain plus the recent recession had forced him to focus on efficiency and operations. But Brozen was worried that Nando’s was losing some of its early creativity, so he was going to focus on it and not suffer the troubles of Starbucks. I wish him and Nando’s luck.

Rob told me you can buy Nando’s Peri Peri sauce at Fairway in NYC but he wasn’t going to open up a restaurant in New York anytime soon. New York is a tough chicken town, with lots of competition. So I’ll have to take the Acela to DC to encounter the designed eating experience coming out of Africa.

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Reader Comments


March 18, 2010 01:27 AM

It is a blessing to have a food-related article here. As a fan of Nando's, I have to say they are really innovative to some extent. They have all the catchy names for their menu, open area for sources and drinks, and cultural atmosphere that you can't ignore. I would not say Starbucks was not innovative enough or it's not leading innovation anymore. It is still a place providing certain culture, which people appreciate so much. For innovation, food or restaurant categories are tough and easy to be replaced. Food chains requires lots of technology to make it effective and profitable. I really want to see good chains making money but not losing their creativities.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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