100 World Class South Africans: Robbie Brozin

Sharing a taste of Africa

‘It’s the people who make the chicken,’ says Nando’s founder Robbie Brozin, who transformed a Portuguese chicken café in a low-end Joburg suburb into one of SA’s largest restaurant brands.

Nando’s has over 1 000 outlets in more than 30 countries, and a retail range of sauces and spices exported to the US, UK and even Fiji.

Fearlessly irreverent marketing has entrenched the brand in our popular culture.

Who could forget ‘Julius Wants Change’ (a spoof on Malema’s call to change before the 2009 elections) or ‘The Ministerial Gravy Train’ (Nando’s take on responsible spending)?

There’s a lot of halahala about changing people’s lives one chicken at a time, but Brozin walks his talk.

Nando’s was voted best company to work for – there are over 8 000 employees, called Nandocas – at the UK’s Best Companies awards in 2010.

That same year, Advertising Age listed it as one of the world’s 30 hottest brands, and Forbes named it one of Africa’s 10 Most Innovative Companies.

Brozin appointed a new CEO in 2011, leaving himself free to focus on social responsibility programmes linked to healthcare and art.

He now happily calls himself Nando’s Chief Creativity Officer, ‘almost like Minister of Fun and Culture’. And he’s laughing all the way…

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