FRANCHISING STARS: 10 Minutes With Judd Sandwell

Posted on by Mark Fernandez


Judd Sandwell is the Regional General Manager for Nando’s Australia WA, SA & NT


Nando’s has been a formidable force within the food industry, what do you think is behind the popularity and hype?

Nando’s is unique in many ways. The Flame Grilled Split Chicken and the great range of flavoursome Peri-Peri Sauces are just the start. Nando’s has something for everyone; you feel the vibe when entering our restaurants with our Afro-Portuguese music and tasteful decor. Nando’s started in South Africa in the late 1980’s and soon made its way to Australia with the first Nando’s restaurant opening up in Tuart Hill WA in 1991. The Peri-Peri revolution began and is now right across Australia with 270 restaurants and growing.

What is the biggest challenge right in your particular business and the sector you trade in?

Right now the biggest challenge for Nando’s is retaining our passionate Family members. We have invested a great deal into our people in recent times and managed to attract and retain some dedicated and passionate people. As our business grows we hope they will grow with us but if they do decide to leave the family we are confident that we have passed on some great skills to assist them in building their careers or lives elsewhere.

What is a key driver for customer loyalty and how are Nando’s attracting loyal customers?

In 2012 Nandos launched our Peri Perks program to reward our loyal customer base. The program was trialled in WA and was a huge hit. The program was last year rolled out to the rest of the country and we now have a very healthy membership base that get to enjoy many benefits just by coming to see us. Last year some lucky Peri Perks members won the opportunity to see Katy Perry perform at the Sydney opera house and danced the night away with Red Foo at a special Peri Perks Party.

What is going to be the focus for Nando’s WA this financial year?

Over the last 18 months we have undergone a major refurbishment program to bring our restaurants up to a standard that we can be proud of. We aim to provide a great in restaurant dining experience in every Nandos. This has seen major capital investment in many locations such as Applecross, Belmont, Scarborough, Ocean Keys, Westfield Carousel, Joondalup, Bunbury, Northbridge & East Victoria Park. Still to come this year are renovations at Innaloo, Willetton, Myaree, Midland and brand new restaurants in Baldivis, Warnbro & Cockburn Gateway.

Are you concerned about the recent federal budget and how it will affect your franchisees?

I am sure there will be some impact, to what degree remains to be unseen. I have a family myself with two young children and I am a little cautious so I can only imagine this is a sentiment expressed by many. However what we have seen in the past when there are uncertain economic times is that Nando’s is still a meal of choice. Consumers are starting to see Nando’s as a cut above Fast Food but still delivering great value and a great night out for the family.

What are some attributes for successful franchisees within the Nando’s system?

Being part of a family environment, we are all in this together and the support they receive is top notch. We all pitch in an assist when needed, share wins and hard times together. Most of all the franchisees interests are always at the top of mind when making any decisions. Nando’s Australia now has a large group of company owned restaurants, this enables us to understand the impact of our decisions and stand by our systems and processes.

Define ‘success’ in five words.

Happiness, Contentment, Respect, Fun & Freo!!!!

Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date and why?

My Father, I left school at a young age to work alongside of my father who was a well-respected high level corporate manager until the family had a sea change and moved to Margaret River. He taught me all aspects of running business but more importantly how to treat people. Skills such as listening, empathy, how to make a decision and then to take accountability for that decision no matter what the outcome.

What Peri-Peri sauce do you have with your chicken?

Absolutely HOT of course

Judd Sandwell is the Regional General Manager for Nando’s Australia WA, SA & NT. Judd has been in this role since August 2012 and oversees all aspects of the Nando’s Franchise and Company Owned business in these regions. Judd and his team have overseen a massive market transformation in the last 18 months and now are the leading and model Nando’s Market in the country.  Judd has previous experience as the National Operations Manager for Chicken Treat and previously held senior state level positions within Coca-Cola Amatil.

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