Nando's adds flavour to India restaurant scene

South African casual dining restaurant major Nando’s, having sensed the taste for tangy, delectable cuisines and new food offerings among Indians, has decided to spread its wings in India in a big way.

Nando’s India, which currently runs eight restaurants in the country across Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Chennai, and Bengaluru, will be opening more restaurants in this market until March 2016 — two in Bengaluru, three in Delhi and one in Chennai — all of which will be in a 3,000-sq feet standalone format. The company will be investing over $1 million for each restaurant.

Nando’s has been a known player in the casual dining space in India, having run its business on a franchise model. A couple of years ago, it bought back its market from its franchisees, in a bid to re-emerge as a company-owned brand.

“Nando’s runs 1,300 restaurants in 27 countries, of which, only five markets — South Africa, Australia, the US, the UK, and India — have company-owned and run restaurants,” Nando’s India Chief Executive Officer Sumeet Yadav told Deccan Herald.

The company saw promise in India’s fondness for spicy and varied cuisine from around the world, apart from the growing levels of income among urban people.

It’s raining food

According to market research firm Euromonitor International, the food services sector in India stood at $96.1 billion in 2014, growing at a CAGR of 13 per cent, with its organised sector growing higher at 18 per cent.

“In the last six months, we have spent around $500,000 on research to understand the Indian market, customer needs, and the perception they have about our brand. We realised that they loved our chicken preparations, but needed fresh menus regularly, and asked for more vegetarian offerings as well,” Yadav said.

One of the most important areas that Nando’s laid immense focus on is a robust farm-to-fork supply chain. Nando’s specialises in Afro-Portuguese and grilled fare, and its most distinct flavour hums from the peri peri sauce. It is a very hot sauce made with red chilli peppers. The sauce, which is imported from South Africa, is an essential ingredient to spice its all-famous peri peri chicken.

Similarly in India, the company has tied up with poultry suppliers — Suguna in Bengaluru and Alchemist in Chandigarh — to source its regular requirement of spatchcock chickens. “We share our sauces with the poultry facilities, where the chicken is marinated in the sauces for 24 hours, after which it is vacuum-tumbled, and supplied to us once in three days. We have also tied up with many suppliers for our vegetarian shopping list,” Yadav said.

The company is now scouting for a poultry supply chain in western India, where six months from now, it plans to open restaurants in Mumbai and Pune.

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