The man behind Nandos

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Meet the reclusive South African billionaire investor behind Nando’s

Dick Enthoven is one of South Africa’s richest business men — but also one of the country’s most elusive.

23Apr, 2015by in UK

You know this tycoon is elusive when a quick Google Image search turns into a frantic 10-minute quest.

Few people know that billionaire Dick Enthoven is not only the owner of Spier and Hollard Insurance Company Ltd, but also of the South African Nando’s restaurant chain whose famous peri-peri chicken took the world by storm.

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How did Nando’s start?

Enthoven got to know the founders Robbie Brozin and Nando Duarte in the 80s, and gave them a loan to expand their Nando’s chain in South Africa initially, and then internationally.

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A family affair?

Nando’s is described as a “private family business” and the main backers and investors is the Enthoven family, providing capital and business acumen to help Nando’s grow locally and internationally.

It is a family-owned franchise: the son Robby Enthoven heads the UK operation of Nando’s. Robby was tapped to run Nando’s in 1993 when the company had just two branches in west London.

His other son Adrian Enthoven was educated at Oxford and is now Chairman of Hollard.

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And Enthoven’s daughter Mariota is married to ‘Farmer Angus‘ McIntosh who runs the Spier Biodynamic Farm. They supply organic meat to leading Cape Town and Winelands restaurants.

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It seems that an entrepreneurial spirit runs in the blood of the Enthoven family. Dick’s own father Robert is Dutch and amassed an insurance fortune  ̶̶̶  so that’s three generations of business savvy right there.

How is UK Nando’s different? 

It seems that Robby Enthoven changed the focus for the UK brand. It has changed to offering a sit-down as well as take-away service, while the take-away service is the local SA model.  In thirteen years, 300 Nando’s outlets were opened in the UK. And of course, dad’s wines from Spier feature on the Nando’s winelist in the UK.

Spier Wine Farm in Cape Town, owned by the Enthoven family

Controversy

In 2014, The Guardian reported that Nando’s uses a battery of offshore techniques to legally reduce its UK corporation tax bill by up to a third.

Quite simply that means the Enthoven family would stand to avoid UK inheritance tax by using an offshore account.

Although, the restaurant group points out that it paid £12.6m UK corporation tax in 2013 according to The Guardian. Enthoven’s structures are said to be legal. A spokesperson told The Guardian that, “Richard Enthoven is the ultimate beneficial owner of Nando’s,” the company’s spokesman told us. “He is not resident in the US or the UK.” And so, he does not need to pay any British personal tax.

Just last week, the Nando’s advert that shows how ridiculous xenophobia is was banned. The Advertising Standards Authority received several complaints in South Africa.

What is Nando’s net worth?

It’s undeniable. Nando’s has become one of South Africa’s biggest export success stories with over 1,100 restaurants in 22 countries.

With 29 branches in the UK in 2001, the numbers rapidly rose to 114 by 2005. In 2012, Nando’s registered a profit of £14.7 million – with a 26 per cent increase over the year.

Since then, the UK’s love for Nando’s has grown so much that there are now over 250 outlets in the country.

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Fun facts

In the UK, Nando’s is the most popular restaurant on Twitter with the most followers. 

Enthoven has a love for art and the Nando’s stores in the UK collectively showcase about 5000 South African art works. “I never buy anything with the view of selling it or to invest in it,” Enthoven said in a 2010 interview with Johannesburg-based newspaper Business Day. “I buy it because I enjoy it, because it is important to have it.”

People see the brand as being an ambassador for South Africa, using clever ads to make subtle political commentary and implementing a unique style in every restaurant that’s truly South African and supports SA designers.

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