Keeping a brand fresh

Continual reinvention: how Harrison’s long-standing design partnership with Nando’s drives growth

The Challenge

Nando’s is one of the biggest casual dining success stories to emerge in the UK over the past decade. Founded in South Africa in 1987, and with the first UK restaurant opening in London in 1992, this flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken business now boasts over 1,000 Nando’s outlets worldwide, with over 300 located in the UK.

In design terms, Nando’s restaurants are, quite simply, exceptional: each is highly distinctive, with fresh and relevant branding. What evolves is a destination venue which is as much about design as it is about taste bud-tingling food. In the crowded casual dining market, every Nando’s stands out from the competition.

Having designed for Nando’s for almost two decades and completed more than 300 restaurants in the UK and overseas, Harrison continues to play a key role in the brand’s meteoric rise to cult status. Our challenge has always been to be consistently original, flexible and creative with every scheme – and to deliver it on time and on budget. This is how we do it.

The Solution

It’s all about having a deep understanding of the brand, of where it started and of where it needs to go. Our relationship with Nando’s is a long term one, which affords us unrivalled client trust and enormous scope to research and develop new ideas. Every restaurant we work on is as exciting for us as it is for our client and their customers. We can flex our design muscle and involve local artisans as well as develop the Nando’s reputation for supporting artists in its South African homeland. Commissions can include one-off pieces of work which may be carved, sculpted, grown, thrown or painted and made from wood, metal, clay … We hunt out anything that is interesting, natural or fun.

Whether in retail parks, on the high street or in airports, the variety of locations and the number of projects we complete for Nando’s – often with understandably tight deadlines – could be overwhelming. For us, it is a challenge we have overcome through careful planning and having a team of skilled and dedicated designers, technicians and project managers working under one roof.

The Success

Since 1999 we have designed and developed over 300 Nando’s restaurants in the toughest of locations and in numerous global markets, including the UK, USA and Middle East. Such is the level of trust in Harrison that we are never given a brief, Nando’s has complete faith in our ability to deliver new and creative designs to keep the brand relevant and exciting.

We believe there are three things that help us to deliver this success year on year: the specialist structure of our teams, the continuous creativity of our designers and our passion for our client’s brand.

“Harrison is a company with great vision, passion, energy and – most importantly – creativity. We first started working with Harrison 15 years and over 280 restaurants ago. Right from the outset, we have been impressed with the consultancy’s constant ability to evolve our high profile brand, enabling us to keep it fresh and well ahead of our competitors. Ultimately, Harrison has made a massive contribution to our success in the UK, working with us as partners rather than suppliers.”
— Steven Du Plessis, Nando’s Head of Construction and Design