Casual dining chain Nando’s is switching its refrigeration to Foster as part of the latest changes to its kitchen operations, FEJ has learned.
The peri-peri chicken chain spans more 400 restaurants in the UK and therefore any new equipment roll-outs it undertakes tend to be among the most comprehensive in the market.
Foster Refrigerator confirmed to FEJ in a statement that it had begun working with Nando’s, which needs significant refrigeration and chilled prep space to support the delivery of its menu.
Chris Goode, development account manager for Foster Refrigerator and Gamko UK, said: “We’re really pleased to be working alongside Nando’s. As a market-leading supplier, we commit to supporting both our dealers and customers with products and services that align with the operational needs of their business. We work closely with our customers throughout the entire process, making sure they’re happy on every step of the journey.”
Mr Goode added that the brand seeks to build a clear understanding of the business models of that its customers operate in order to be able to support them in the most effective way. “We deliver products that meet the high standards Nando’s expect in their busy kitchens, and their colleagues know we’re only ever a phone call away,” he said.
More recently Nando’s had used Williams as its primary refrigeration supplier and it’s likely that the brand’s products will still be seen in use at its restaurants for the foreseeable future.
While it is not uncommon for the major chains to change suppliers, especially as they seek to drive down capital costs, one senior industry executive told FEJ that he feels operators are showing a greater inclination to shop around in the current environment.
“We do find that when somebody is looking to invest in equipment they are quite prepared to change now. There has been some big changes in the market involving big accounts that have stuck with people for a long time and all of a sudden they have made the change. They will do it if it is the right product and price.”
At the Commercial Kitchen Show earlier this year, Nando’s kitchen and equipment development manager, Adele Hing, described the challenges of introducing equipment into a rapidly-expanding store estate where kitchen shapes and sizes can vary dramatically.
She said the emphasis was on ensuring it works to set standards and uses modular lay-outs to assist roll-out and replacement activity.
“Obviously there are going to be sites that are more bespoke; you might have a specific site which is going to be really big and will need X, Y, Z because delivery and takeaway are going to be big. But we take those sites and deal with them separately in terms of what they need and what is specific to them. Generally speaking for our operation, and for what I do in terms of making the operation right and efficient, we try to keep it as standardised as possible just because that is what’s going to work for us across multiple formats.”
Nando’s made sales of more than £800m in the UK in its last financial year.