Nando's Is Firing Up The East Carlos Duarte has been part of the Nando's brand since inception. When his brother Fernando co-founded the flamed grilled chicken brand in 1987, Carlos soon participated in its success and today owns four highly successful franchises in Johannesburg - three in the east and one in the south. Here's how it all began.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
- Player: Carlos Duarte
- Franchise: Nando's
- Position: Franchisee
- Visit: www.nandos.co.za
What were you doing before becoming a franchisee?
I was in the audio visual technology field, as an employee. Then I joined Nando's as an assistant manager in the Savoy and Rosettenville corporate stores. Franchising was my first experience of entrepreneurship.
Why did you decide to become a franchisee?
When my brother, Fernando Duarte, launched Nando's in 1987, I noticed its quick growth and wanted in on the action. Being assistant store manager prepared me for when the opportunity to run my own store came along soon after.
What prompted you to partner with Nando's?
I joined Nando's in 1991 as a joint venture partner. At the time, Nando's hadn't yet franchised its operations, and the JV partnership meant the brand owned 51% of the business, while I owned 49%. My first franchise store was in Edenglen in 2001.
Describe some of the challenges of running not one, but four franchise locations
At the Edenglen store, we initially battled with sales and getting feet into the store. To be honest, I think the area was overtraded at the time, so it wasn't the best location. Since acquiring the store in Lambton, Germiston, another in Greenstone and a third in Comaro, I've learnt to be cleverer in how I do things — and how I handle some of the same challenges — and learn every day from the brand itself.
Name some of the benefits you've experienced as a Nando's franchisee
Nando's is 31 years old this year. We're in 30-odd countries worldwide with thousands of stores across the globe. As franchisees, we leverage off the dynamism of an operational business that's known for its marketing — customers talk about our ads and they love our food.
What kind of support do you receive from Nando's as a multi-unit franchisee?
Besides the popular marketing campaigns that attract customers, Nando's has an extensive training manual along with a skills development training consultant who comes to the store for two days to help staff understand and implement it. The training is really effective — it has to be as this industry involves a very high turnover of staff and new skills need to be taught often.
Why is it important for a franchisee to have a good banking partner?
As a franchisee, your bank should understand your business — from operating costs, to overdraft needs and revamping expenses — so it has cash available for loans that can be approved quickly, with minimal hassle. On the technical side, a reliable mPOS device is imperative, especially for us, because 30% of our sales volumes are from home and office deliveries. It's a fundamental method of payment every bank should provide its customers of a similar nature.
What advice do you have for budding franchisees on seeking out a good franchise brand and banking partner for their business?
- Do your research to ensure you're partnering with a brand that is established, well-known and expect to pay a fair price for that franchise.
- Be aware of how the franchise brand is perceived in the market and what location opportunities are available to you as a franchisee.
- Choose a banking facility that always has the funds available to grow your business.
- Ensure the bank understands the brand's business model and where you're falling short.