During the first 4 days of our vacation, my wife and I blasted around London on foot, on double-decker bus, in taxis, and in the tube. London has a great public transportation system (which is good because driving there is ridiculous).
So, one day we found ourselves in some little corner of London. We’d just finished browsing at a used bookshop and were planning to go to the Royal Albert Hall just a short walk away. And it was lunchtime so we surveyed our options and selected one lively-looking restaurant to try.
The restaurant was called Nando’s. The atmosphere was fun, the food was incredibly good, and I observed that they effectively filled a niche that seems to be gaping wide open. After eating there once, we actively sought out the restaurant 3 or 4 more times throughout our vacation.
Nando’s is an interesting mix between fast food and a conventional restaurant. You go into the restaurant and sit down. The waiter/waitress hands you your menu. You decide what you want to eat and you go to the counter to order and pay. Then you return and waitstaff bring your food to you.
Similarly, the food itself is a crossover between fast and conventional: It’s higher quality and fresher than what you’d get at a fast food restaurant but it’s delivered just as quickly yet right to your table. It’s primarily chicken-based food (although it’s very vegetarian friendly) and you can get a variety of salads. You choose what level of spiciness you want and there’s a set of shelves from which you choose various sauces (hot, extra hot, garlic, etc.) to add to your food.
Between the food and the atmosphere, it has become my favorite restaurant. (Unfortunately, there are only a few in North America. Hopefully franchisers will jump into the opportunity!)
I like the business model, too. The mix between fast and conventional fills a gap. No longer do people who desire a quick lunch have to resort to less-healthy choices or an all-plastic eating environment. The restaurant is fun and classy. While staff costs are higher (since there is a kitchen and waitstaff), food costs can be controlled (especially with a limited menu and flavors added through sauce rather than menu variety). Additionally the speed helps increase table turnover.
If you ever get a chance to try Nando’s, do so! You won’t be disappointed!
To apply the Business Diamond Framework to this model: There is a very clear application of all four Function Diamonds: The Leadership Diamond has kept the restaurant’s brand consistent and their message and atmosphere a fun, hip environment to eat at. The Value-Add Diamond delivers good value (quantity and quality) for the price. The To-Market Diamond uses the atmosphere and “attitude” to make it an attractive place to eat. The Support Diamond was clearly at work in the background keeping the place running smoothly with well-trained waitstaff and kitchen staff who could produce quickly and consistently.