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.
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.