South African restaurant chain, Nando’s, is foraying into the grocery segment by launching its sauces in India. The sauces will hit the retail shelves from May 2017, according to a senior company official.
In an exclusive interview with Indiaretailing, CEO, Nando’s Restaurant India, Sumeet Yadav said, “Globally, we have something called the grocery division which specialises in FMCG business. So our job in that sense is that we project the brand as it is and sauces fill the big gap as a lot of customers even today ask us to take the sauces home. But we do not sell it currently as we want to get the sauces through right certification route and so on. So with the sauces coming in to India, we feel the journey is complete.”
He further added, “Unlike selling the sauces in just 12 restaurants, the brand will be selling them also with retail partners. And these sauces will also be available for sale online.”
The brand will be introducing six Peri Peri sauce flavours in India priced at Rs 390 for 250 ml and Rs 250 for 125 ml.
Globally, the brand has sauces, marinades and a lot many products on the shelves at the retail stores.
“However in India, we will be currently introducing only sauces and then bringing the entire portfolio after understanding the customers,” said Yadav.
The brand wants to create a popular culture in India as they have created it globally. It aims to be ultimate ingredient in the country as in the people should think of it as local while it is a global chain.
Director, Nando’s Grocery International, David Care said, “In next five years, Nando’s expect to sell around two million bottles every year and enter around one million households.”
“The plan for the next two years is to be in more than 2,000 stores in India,” he further added.
New Store Design
Globally Nando’s has around 1,300 restaurants and not even one restaurant is similar to other. In the sense, each one of them has a unique design – they do not have the same red and blue, same table, same chair, same lights etc. Everything is different. And now Nando’s is replicating the same in India.
“What we have also done is over the last six months we have refurbished a lot of our flagship restaurant as the current design language has very heavy tones of wood but the new Africa design these days is more vibrant, more colours. So, the Epicuria one has lots of yellow, lots of pink and the new Promenade restaurant has got purple, black and white, it has an electic mix of colours,” said Yadav.
“We will be refurbishing the CP restaurant in July and then we will re-launch it with a new design,” he further added.
To give more global touch, Nando’s has also changed its table service format giving more freedom to customers to choose from the variety of sauces, to have free access to unlimited Coke and a lot more.
“Earlier, a customer would come in like any normal restaurant, server would come and give the menu to the customer and they would order. But now what we have done is that we have adopted the most global format of Nando’s where the customer comes in and they get seated and they give the order on the cash desk and post which the food is served on the table,” revealed Yadav.
Yadav stresses that these changes are not because of the change in Nando’s strategy for India rather the is just updating to make more Nando’s in India than Nando’s for India.
“Our strategy for India is very clear since day one – to bulid a right base in India, make sure that the supply chain is right, tone or voice is right and the team is right and once we have done that and then progress. We are updating many things but our strategy is still the same, revealed Yadav.
In a recent research, Nando’s customer told the brand that they visit Nando’s less frequently as the brand has less outlets and the one’s that are there they are too far from customer’s place. The brand paid attention to it and started opening restaurants at the right location.
According to Yadav, In future, the consumption will get localised as everybody will prefer convenience. So are doing our best to be in the right locations in the city to tap the potential customers.”
“However, Nando’s does not have a pressure to open 50 or 100 outlets. The management is very clear, we are in this country for a very long time, maybe around 50 years, and India is not about today, it is about five years from now. So the mandate currently is to build the base right. And once when everything is set, the brand can open as many restaurants as it wants in a year,” he further added.
12 outlets of Nando’s have already opened in India and two more are expected to by this year end – one in Bengaluru and the other maybe in Delhi or Hyderabad.
“We will be refurbishing 4 more outlets by this year end. So by the end of this year, we will have all brand new restaurants. And then we will look at opening 6-7 a year depending on happy we are the way the market is evolving,” Yadav said.
The brand whose gross margins have improved by 30-40 per cent in past six months, spends about Rs 6 crore in building a restaurant in India.
India is one of the six countries where the brand is following the equity model. Other countries where the company operates company owned outlets are UK, South Africa, USA, Canada and Australia.
Technology is the Way Forward
Globally, the brand already has an app which is active in UK, Malaysia and in all other countries. And soon it is planning to introduce it in India.
“So once we build loyalty, build cadences then we will be introducing it in India as it will help us communicate to our consumers in a better way. But we have got an app for our employees though. It will be launching soon and will help us talk to our employees on daily basis, track their training, make training schedules and a lot more,” revealed Yadav.
“We are also planning to introduce a fully-integrated app for consumers by this year-end which will have loyalty, delivery everything,” he further added.
The brand is also planning to introduce the delivery system which is completely connected to the consumer where the consumer places an order on the app, confirmation comes, the consumer knows which driver is coming with the food, how much delivery time it will take, track the driver. So, giving the complete power to the consumer.
“In Bengaluru we are also experimenting with NFC chip where the consumers have a NFC chip on the table and as soon as they tap it they can give their feedback and suggest improvements and do a lot more,” concluded Yadav.