The story of Nando’s is well-known to South Africans who grew up alongside us in our relatively new democracy. In 1987 two friends shared a meal at a humble Portuguese eatery in Rosettenville, Johannesburg. Here they were inspired by the taste of the African Bird’s Eye Chilli, a spice that travelled from the rich soil and blistering sunshine of Mozambique, and that has brought flavour to Nando’s chicken ever since. 35 years later and Nando’s enjoys a global reputation as an Afro-Portuguese restaurant chain in more than 20 countries around the world and a condiment offering in over 30 countries.

Nandocas serve guests with pride

To optimistic and youthful South Africans, Nando’s is a born and bred local restaurant and condiment offering that brings the powerful flavour of PERi-PERi into homes, onto tables and into hearts and minds.

Through slick, smart and funny communications, Nando’s has delighted guests and consumers through high-quality meals made with real and natural ingredients, sourced locally with pride. Nando’s is also a passionate believer in Southern African creativity, which is as much of an export as our unique flavours.

But behind all the wonderful creativity, world-class food and beautifully designed restaurants Nando’s has at its heart, a ‘people first’ philosophy. Emblazoned on the wall at our Johannesburg home office, Central Kitchen, is the epithet “It’s the people who make the chicken”. Great people make great chicken and what we’ve found from early on is that what’s good for people is good for business.

Farmers at MaXamba harvest our African Bird’s Eye Chillis

Here are some of the ways that we live that epithet:

Nando’s is the biggest collector of contemporary Southern African art in the world. Every piece of art that hangs in every restaurant across the world is sourced and purchased in South Africa and produced by Southern African artists. Every franchisee selects art for his or her restaurant, unique to that restaurant’s design, and every piece comes from our partnership with the Spier Arts Trust who identify, nurture, educate and empower Southern African artists to the point where they can produce work as a benefit. We support five different artist career development programs and regularly purchase art from over 350 artists. This benefits us (as investors in assets that increase in value) and changes lives (by supporting artists to produce high-quality work we are proud of as a nation and which then raise the international profile of those artists to their profit)

Nando’s Durbanville

Nando’s started the Hot Young Designers Awards and Competition to identify and support South African designers. Nando’s Hot Young Designer is a talent search competition that opens a door for undiscovered young South African design talent to join our heartfelt celebration of local design. Entrants respond to a design brief and submit designs that are used in our restaurant builds. These designs are also potentially included on the Nando’s Portal to Africa – our global Nando’s design procurement platform. This gives designers a chance to showcase their pieces in our restaurants and to connect with a world of international clients who purchase their furniture designs.

Nando’s Constantia Kloof

Nando’s South Africa sources more than 98% of its procurement from local products particularly chicken. In doing so we can assure our consumers that they are eating high-quality, fresh chicken sourced from local farms, many of whom are small and medium-sized farmers who run family and community operations. Nando’s works to help smaller South African farmers form collaborations and cooperatives so that they can size and scale their farms to deliver the amount of food we need to grill and serve in our restaurants. One of the farms we support is a female-run operation who supply us with fresh vegetables.

By Thembaletu Manqunayana

Nando’s supports the agricultural pipeline of the African Bird’s Eye Chilli in four countries, namely Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa We do this by giving farmers access to the latest farming techniques, quality seedlings and finance and we commit to a fixed volume for their crop at a premium price upfront for every kilogram of chillies harvested. We work with over 1400 farmers in 18 growing regions.

By Liza Grobbler

Nando’s supports a variety of charitable programs in Lorentzville, where our Central Kitchen (head office) is based. This is an impoverished community where our determined presence, built on the land that was once where our chickens were marinaded before heading to restaurants, has attracted investment and support for the people who live in Lorentzville. Support schemes range from river clean-ups to waste removal to kids’ education packs and feeding schemes. There is a person employed full-time at Nando’s to run programs in Lorentzville. Our belief is that if we respect our own roots by serving those who helped us succeed at the beginning, the community pays back ten-fold in the support of the Nando’s business.

Artwork by Selvin November

Nando’s has a long-term sustained partnership with Bridges For Music Academy, a non-profit organisation and academy that taps into the power of music to uplift, encourage, and strengthen disadvantaged communities across the world. Bridges for Music’s mission is to make a positive impact on South Africa’s music industry and help to generate an employable and entrepreneurial pipeline of music experts working in different music-related fields from sound engineering and production through to music makers. Through this commitment, Nando’s aims to ensure young creative people have a space to create work to share with the nation and the world.

Bridges for Music almuni Bonga Kwana performs at the Basha Festival fired up by Nando’s

Nando’s Co-founder Robbie Brozin says most of the work we do aims to celebrate South African creativity that Nando’s has always been proud to nurture. “Our creative programmes sparked the careers of many an artist, some of whom have made it big on the international stage. There is so much hidden talent in this country and our global footprint of restaurants give us the platform to showcase South African creative talent to the world.”

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