, Australia

Nando's marketing success is all about being creative

How the chain has succeeded in being controversial yet a friendly and approachable restaurant.

Aside from its infamous Peri-Peri chicken, Nando's prides itself of its often comedic and witty marketing campaigns.

"The way we’ve marketed the brand has also definitely influenced our success," Craig Mason, Managing Director of Nando's Australia tells QSR Media.

"Over the years we’ve also become known for our topical and sometimes quite cheeky advertising; initially this stemmed from our South African roots, but now it has become part of our signature style and a true reflection of who we are as a brand."

Just this year, the chain was all over the news after "stealing" the three storey high Big Mango tourist attraction of Bowen, North Queensland, now known as the great "Mango Gate" heist.

Of course, this was part of a buzz campaign for the chain's newly launched Mango and Lime flavour Peri-Peri. It was so successful that the "heist" garnered nationwide coverage, considering they had relatively minimal advertising budget.

The Big Mango heist created a nationwide media frenzy, with over 3000 TV, radio, print and internet stories reported.

  • The news even went global reaching over 50 countries.
  • #Mangogate became the #1 trending topic on twitter across Australia.
  • The you tube heist video received over 280,000 views
  • Social media went crazy and people started creating content, memes and even songs about what happened to the Big Mango.
  • The Facebook pages received over 6000 new likes over the campaign period
  • Over 1,220,000 viewed our Facebook content in just two days and millions more, including politicians and celebrities posted, tweeted, shared and talked about it.


One of the things also keeping fans loyal is Nando's friendly atmosphere for both workers and clientele.

Mason explained that this had something to do with people and how their stores are designed.

He attributes some of Nando's success to its people, noting that one of the chain's core values is pride.

"Our Nandocas (our name for all people who work at Nando’s) have a real passion for grilling each piece of chicken so it’s perfect when it reaches the plate."

In fact, Nando's has a global competition dubbed as the Nando’s Master Griller, where Nandocas from all around the world compete to be the world’s ultimate griller. Mason shared that this year, the Australian franchise is sending five of its Nandocas to compete in the international finals in London.

"A testament to how much importance we place on giving our customers the very best flame-grilled chicken in the world," he said.

Along side its people, Mason also adds store design as part of its success.

"All of our restaurants are unique, however what does remain consistent, is the creation of a warm and inviting space, where people feel comfortable to come together to eat with family, friends or someone special," he said.

A few years ago, Nando's implemented a program of re-designing its restaurants to make them not just more fresh and contemporary, but more enjoyable places to socialise and enjoy their food.

"Each of our restaurants has bespoke design elements and no two are alike, but there’s always a unifying feeling achieved from using natural materials and creating warmth with colour and texture," Mason described.

"A lot of our restaurants use recycled materials to create interesting and locally relevant design features. A great example of this is our Scarborough restaurant in [Western Australia]. Located on the coast amidst surf and skate culture, our front counter is covered with recycled skateboards."

"In addition to these localised elements," he said, "we also feature original South African artworks from our 5000 piece collection (the largest of its kind in the world) displayed in Nando’s restaurants all around the world. The works that make up our collection are sourced from undiscovered, emerging and more established artists from diverse social backgrounds and offer a great opportunity for South African artists to have their talents recognised on a global scale." 

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