In 1987, Robbie Brozin co-founded the iconic Portuguese chicken restaurant chain together with his friend Fernando Duarte. Today, Nando’s restaurants are found across the globe. In her book on South African business leaders, Adele Shevel found out what ma
is arguably South Africa’s most successful food export. Its popularity is startling when one considers the level of relentless domestic and foreign competition in the fast-food and casual dining space. It has made big strides in tough overseas markets, and in some regions – the UK in particular – it has developed something of a cult following.
The taste and quality of the product set it apart, but in SA it’s the irreverent marketing, oozing a sense of fun and cheekiness, that positions it in its own edgy corner. At the core of this is co-founder Robbie Brozin, though he’s quick to say it’s been a team effort.
Brozin founded Nando’s with friend Fernando Duarte. He is the ultimate brand ambassador – he engages easily, doesn’t take himself too seriously (on the surface), and sees humour in most situations. He keeps no sacred cows and is a straighttalker. This is mirrored in the company’s marketing campaigns, which are often contentious and controversial and have led Nando’s to be earmarked by Advertising Age as among the 30 hottest brands around.
Brozin’s enthusiasm drives the creative energy that permeates the business, from sourcing particular materials to developing the visual legacy of the brand. Now he sees himself as maintaining the soul of the brand, ensuring that it remains relevant and purposeful.
Having navigated the path from start-up to corporate to global operator, Brozin’s style has always been down-to-earth and casual. He also has an active interest in pursuing humanitarian issues, such as fighting malaria in Africa.
A Nando's restaurant in Manchester, UK.