Giving back: Chicken franchise wins staff, customers over

2007-11-13 00:00

While the country's chicken-lovers ponder what to have for lunch today, Nando's employees country-wide have downed their aprons and are living it up at a party of a lifetime at the Northgate Dome in Johannesburg to celebrate the organisation's 20th anniversary.

Management at Nando's are treating their staff to a carnival atmosphere party, and guess what they won't be eating? Nando's chicken of course, because the people who cook it will be otherwise occupied; being cosseted and entertained with music, dancing and good food.

Staff at Nando's Liberty Mall branch told The Witness that they will be departing by bus at 2 am this morning to get to the party on time.

“I can't believe the day is here at last,” grinned waitron Sizwe Ngwane. “We have been excited since June when we were told about our party.”

Manager Loveena Ramsurab said she was looking forward to being able to close shop for the day.

And customer Themba Shabalala from Centurion in Gauteng, told The Witness he would manage to survive without his Nando's today, because he felt the initiative is “great”.

“If your staff are happy, then your customers will be happy and by entertaining them in this way it makes them feel like an individual, not just a number.”

When quizzed about the cost of the party, Nando's managing director Kevin Utian said the event is not about the money. “If it had been we probably would have shelved the idea, because it will cost a lot.” He said it is purely an investment in their staff and a celebration of 20 years of success.

“We believe that the backbone of our company is our brand and our staff. We want to give due respect to each individual on Tuesday and there will be no prejudice shown for positions staff hold. Everyone will be treated in the same way.”

In what seems a logistical nightmare, transport by road and air to the venue for the 6 500 Nando's staff has been arranged from all over the country.

At 5 pm today the party will end and the staff will be whisked back to their home towns to open Nando's doors for business as usual on Wednesday morning.

Nando's has also come up with some off-the-wall ways for customers to cope with today's Nando's famine.

1. Book an additional appointment with your therapist to discuss your peri-peri withdrawal symptoms - remember to explain that peri-peri is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac. He/she needs to know that you have real problems!

2. Remain positive - remember it is only for 24 hours.

3. Today you can embark on that fast that you have promised yourself for the last 20 years - Nando's is closed, you can do it!

4. Set up a blog and share your feelings with the thousands of South Africans who will be in the same position today.

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