Nando’s Scale-up Stories with Mac Chung Lynn


credits to Endeavor Malaysia

As Michael Jordan said, “don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try”. A little of changes might help to build brand awareness and loyalty too. A brand should be what they meant to be, not what the mass think it should be. The authenticity of a brand comes with consistency in both the talk and the walk.

Branding should both should come before and underlie any marketing effort. It is not pushed, but pull. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that help to clarify what the brand is and is not. Which the brand will say “this is what I am, why I exist. If you agree and like me, you can buy me, support me and recommend me to your friends” (Heaton J, n.d).

The first ever early adopters a successful brand is usually the founder. Here is the story of a founder who gets high with her own supply.

Nando’s — a South African food chain, was brought to Malaysia in 1998 and the first outlet was opened in Bangsar. The story all starts with an architecture graduate from the University of Wales, Mac Chung Lynn, the founder and group CEO of Nando’s Malaysia & Singapore. She always dines in at Nando’s when she was studying in Wales. She loved their menu so much. On one occasion, her father visited and she brought him to Nando’s, he loved the hot peri-peri sauce and have a chat with the manager.

After one month, Mac got a call from her father with a proposal to run Nando’s branch in Malaysia. After all the decision making, Mac decided to head back Malaysia, and open the country version of Nando’s in Bangsar. Then slowly open the other branches around Malaysia and Singapore.

Nando’s always stand out with their quirky ads which Nando’s South Africa wins awards for their advertisements. Where else, the Nando’s UK ads are more gentle. It’s towards local restaurant marketing and relationship building. Nando’s Malaysia and Singapore tend to follow South Africa’s ads direction, but the marketing people is hard to understand it without copying them.

Therefore, they always remind themselves to make the quirky tone be localized. Surprisingly, the marketing team gets it correct. Mac gives the marketing team flexibility to do whatever they want with the basic rule of no sex, religion, politics.

Nando’s in Singapore is not as stable as it is in Malaysia. The F&B trend in Singapore passes too fast. When a new restaurant pops up, the consumers will walk towards it instead of the existing ones. Although competitors appear, Nando’s still keep what their personalities meant to be. They will not reduce the prices to attract and keep the loyalty customers.

In conclusion, Mac says “do not open to many restaurants too quickly. Find an appropriate location and discover and decide to open or not”. It is to avoid cost wastage on planning and renovating a restaurant at the locations that are not suitable and closing down the outlets.

Ying Ting

Ying Ting —— a Key Account who helps clients to brainstorm on the brand strategist, build the relationship with clients and manage the digital marketing of the company. I'm a person who loves planning and at the same time running a personal business. I'm available for branding consultancy. Kindly contact me through

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