"They come in and say it’s a beautiful space, the food tastes great and there’s a good energy, so they have responded incredibly favourably," he says.
That said, there are noticeable touches of Africa in the US stores, whether it is Nelson Mandela’s smile beaming down from a picture on the wall or South African band Freshlyground playing on the sound system.
"Africa resonates with Americans. There’s an intrigue there so we want to stay true to that and aim for our design to communicate some of that."
But there are some differences and they come in the form of items on the menu one wouldn’t find at stores outside the US, such as a chicken wrap with chilli jam and yoghurt sauce.
"That’s a huge seller," says Heiss. And his personal go-to Nando’s meal? "Ah, that’s easy. Quarter chicken, breast, rice and peas. Everyone has their favourite but it’s mostly chicken on the bone in the peri-peri sauce that’s the most popular. It’s all about the chicken!"
Indeed it is all about the chicken — even if you’re not South African.
Article published courtesy of Leader.co.za.