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Nando's: A Taste of Portugal, in South Africa.

In the realm of fast-casual dining, Nando's has emerged as a fiery force, igniting taste buds worldwide with its flame-grilled chicken and signature peri-peri sauce.

But behind this global phenomenon lies a remarkable story, stemming from the pursuit of authentic Portuguese flavors.

Nando's History Timeline

Early Years: A Taste of Portugal in South Africa

The story of Nando's began in 1987 with two friends, Fernando Duarte (a Portuguese immigrant) and Robert Brozin (born in South Africa). They were both living in South Africa at the time, when they embarked on a culinary adventure that would transform the landscape of fast-casual dining. 

After visiting Chickenland, a Portuguese-Mozambican takeaway, and sampling their peri peri chicken, they were so impressed that they purchased the restaurant for approximately 80,000 rand (which was around £25,000 at the time). Chickenland was located in Rosettenville, Johannesburg.

Having arrived in Johannesburg in 1961, Duarte yearned for the tastes of his homeland, particularly the fiery flavors of peri-peri sauce, a Portuguese culinary tradition. Inspired by his mother's cooking and his love for Portuguese cuisine, Duarte' vision was simple yet innovative: to introduce South Africans to the authentic flavors of Portuguese cuisine, with a focus on flame-grilled chicken and the tantalizing peri-peri sauce.

Nando's Chicken!

Their passion for authentic flavors was evident in their approach to cooking. They experimented with different recipes, blending African bird's eye chilies with Portuguese spices to create a unique and flavorful peri-peri sauce that would become the cornerstone of Nando's success.

The Birth of Nando's: A Name with a Story

As Chickenland gained popularity among locals, with its flame-grilled chicken and spicy peri-peri sauce becoming a firm favorite, they recognized the need for a rebrand that would reflect the restaurant's growing identity. They sought a name that would embody the Portuguese heritage and the family-oriented atmosphere they envisioned.

They found the perfect name in Nando's, a tribute to Duarte's son, Fernando Jr., affectionately known as Nando.

Nando's Restaurant

Expansion and Innovation: A Flame-Grilled Revolution

Under Duarte & Brozin's leadership, Nando's embarked on a rapid expansion, opening new restaurants across South Africa. The company's focus on quality, consistency, and customer satisfaction resonated with diners, and Nando's quickly became a household name.

By 1989, the chain had expanded to include three locations in Johannesburg and one in Portugal.

A Global Phenomenon: Spreading the Peri-Peri Passion

In the 1990s, Nando's set its sights on global expansion, realizing the potential of its unique culinary offerings in a wider market. The company's first restaurant outside of South Africa opened in Portugal in 1992, marking a significant milestone in its international journey.

Nando's continued to expand its global footprint, opening restaurants across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. Its unique combination of flame-grilled chicken, spicy peri-peri sauce, and casual dining atmosphere quickly gained popularity in new markets, attracting a diverse clientele with a taste for bold flavors.

Adapting Authenticity, Igniting Global Flavors

Nando's success in the global arena was attributed to its ability to adapt to local tastes and preferences while maintaining its core values of quality, consistency, and customer satisfaction. The company conducted market research and tailored its menu offerings to suit the cultural nuances of each region.

In the United States, for instance, Nando's introduced milder peri-peri sauce options to cater to American palates, while in India, it introduced vegetarian and halal options to accommodate local dietary restrictions. These adaptations demonstrated Nando's willingness to embrace local preferences without compromising its authenticity.

Nando's Sauces

A Legacy of Authenticity, Innovation, and Global Expansion

Today, Nando's stands as a global restaurant chain with over 1,200 restaurants across 34 countries. The company remains true to its founder's vision, providing a taste of authentic Portuguese flavors and a unique dining experience that has won over the hearts of diners worldwide.


Is Nando's Portuguese?

Nandos began in 1987 in South Africa. Fernando Duarte was a Portuguese immigrant, and brought the taste of Portugal to South Africa where he started with his first restaurant.

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