How Nando’s Got Over a Million South Africans Ordering Chicken Online

If you weren’t ordering your takeaway dinners online in 2019, chances are you’re doing it now. Direct-to-consumer and e-commerce are, unsurprisingly, big trends in the food biz right now – and Nando’s nailed it. Here’s how.

  • Nandos Online Ordering

Imagine you buy a quarter chicken meal and before you can eat it, someone else helps themselves to some of your chips and you have to make do with what’s left.

That’s kind of where Nando’s found themselves prior to the launch of their online ordering platform. South Africans wanted a saucy serving of flame-grilled deliciousness, but they also really wanted to be on the couch – leaving Nando’s at the mercy of third-party delivery platforms that would eat into their margins

Nando’s needed their own app – one that looked like them, sounded like them and delivered the hot customer experience their fans were used to receiving in-restaurant. When they appointed VMLY&R to the task, little did they know direct-to-consumer was about to blow up.

Same Winning Recipe, New Flavour
The VMLY&R team built the entire Nando’s e-commerce platform from the ground up and were careful to match the e-commerce offering with the brand’s existing operations so it would still be Nando’s – just with screens. After all, if Nando’s was going to have their own platform, it needed to feel like Nando’s every step of the way.

It took VMLY&R eight months to build the new digital extension, which has been tweaked, honed and continuously developed over the past four years.

The Nando’s You Know, But Now Digital
Everything that’s special about Nando’s remains. To immerse customers in that familiar Nando’s-ness, the brand voice they know and love comes through at every click. And while you can’t smell the PERi-PERi through your screen, you can almost taste the delicious imagery.

So Many Options
Customers can browse the online menu on the website or mobile app and instantly place their orders, which go straight through to the kitchen – recreating the in-restaurant experience.

It also has some cool bonus features that won’t be found elsewhere, including voice search, the ability to customise your Nando’s order just the way you want it, get immediate help from their customer care team, plus online customers get access to exclusive products and the option to buy and send personalised Nando’s vouchers. Whether the customer is on mobile or desktop, Apple, Android or Huawei, it’s all quick and seamless.

There’s also the option to order for collection, delivery or kerbside collect and @Table ordering – a brand new feature that allows dine-in customers to order from their tables using the app, creating a contactless, queueless experience in-restaurant. VMLY&R also built the call centre system, so everything works together like wedges and PERinaise.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
There’s no proof that PERi-PERi chicken gives you the ability to see into the future, but the Nando’s online ordering service was live and loved by customers by the time lockdown put the brakes on dining out. And it has continued to grow. “We currently have a customer base of over a million,” says lead software engineer Hans Liebenberg.

He puts the success down to teamwork: “If you are passionate about what you are doing, the results will be good. A skilled, dedicated team is important in delivering and maintaining an ecosystem of this scale. Our retained team is simply an extension of the Nando’s team – it’s not a normal client relationship, we all work closely and daily with one another.”

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