by Angela Jameson
Nando's, the South African take-home chicken concept, is being relaunched in the UK, with the opening of three new London restaurants and the refurbishment of its two existing outlets.
Following the recent opening of its third restaurant, in Camden, Nando's will open in Kingston, Putney and Islington by the new year. The company, headed by Robert Enthoven in the UK, is planning a further eight outlets by the end of 1996.
Nando's Chickenland is a franchisee of the South African company and has exclusive rights to the operation in Europe. The team took over two years ago after a first attempt to introduce Nando's to the UK faltered.
The new management realised immediately that the market had rather different requirements to South Africa. It was simply not enough to copy the South African operation, where eat-in facilities at the chain's 75 outlets have a low priority.
"In South Africa there is relatively little competition," said Mr Enthoven. "Here, there is so much choice that people expect more." The new approach will mean a greater emphasis on restaurant design, branding and staff motivation.
The new sites will be designed in the style of the Camden outlet, with a front of house grill and seating for around 70. The aim is to achieve the feel of a Continental bar-restaurant rather than a fast food operation, resulting in relatively high fitting out costs of between £180,000 and £250,000 per unit.
Although the outlets will all be owned by the sole franchisee initially, joint ventures have not been ruled out for future expansion.
According to Mr Enthoven, customers tend to eat at Nando's three or four times before being converted to take-home orders. "Ideally I would like to see a restaurant like Camden with £15,000 to £20,000 turnover a week, with 60% of the orders take-home."