After more than a year of dealing with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing its influence in everything from the way we work to how we behave when out and about. At Nando’s, we want to make sure the guests in our restaurants enjoy the full Nando’s ExPERi-ence, but also that we help them to stay safe.

Tracy Lee Lynch, Creative Director of Nando’s Design Programme, has been working with South African designers to come up with social distancing elements we can use in the restaurants. These elements not only help ensure safe social distancing, but they have been developed to provide an enriching aesthetic exPERi-ence too, as well as supporting the designers and makers with which Nando’s partners.

“Beyond affecting the individual and limiting their movements and interactions, COVID-19 also presents a challenge for design businesses across the board,” says Tracy. “We saw the social distancing project as an opportunity for our online marketplace, The Portal to Africa, and for Clout, our Nando’s design programme, to start engaging with designers to find solutions.”

Together, they developed a series of social distancing design concepts, starting with a “table-blocker” screen to create distance between guests sharing a table, or to block off certain areas completely.

“To make things more interactive and bring home the Nando’s experience, we created two opportunities: one to showcase Nando’s Hot Young Designer 2018 competition finalist’s patterns on the screens, so that young designers earn a licensing fee for the use of their work, and secondly, to showcase artwork from Spier Arts Creative Block project,” says Tracy. “So, while we are creating a practical solution to encourage social distancing, we’re also supporting creativity and showcasing beauty.”

Collaborating with South African designers including Dokter and Misses, Pedersen and Lennard, Naturalis, Ashanti Design, Takk, Saks Corner and The Urbanative, Nando’s developed a catalogue of table-blocker screens, clearly marked bollards for queues, contact-free hand sanitizing units and seat-stoppers that indicate which seats can’t be used.

“The catalogue is a work in progress, so it remains open to new ideas that can be made to suit different business needs. The designs are available to some 1 200 Nando’s restaurants worldwide, but also for other businesses who are interested,” says Tracy.

By the end of 2020, almost 7 000 items (worth R7,557,637.00) had been purchased from The Portal to Africa. All of that revenue goes directly to the South African design sector. Excitingly, members of the public are also able to purchase some of these elements on The Portal to Africa.

Some of the components include:

Nando's Creativity Design for the new normal table blocker

Table Blockers

Free-standing elements that can be easily moved into positions to create appropriate social distancing spacing. Table blockers are not screens, but rather standing structures that are patterned or display art and are aligned with the Nando’s design aesthetic. These standing pieces also include a foot base that decommissions a table. The flat foot displays the words “table taken”.

Table Blockers

Free-standing elements that can be easily moved into positions to create appropriate social distancing spacing. Table blockers are not screens, but rather standing structures that are patterned or display art and are aligned with the Nando’s design aesthetic. These standing pieces also include a foot base that decommissions a table. The flat foot displays the words “table taken”.

Nando's Creativity Design for the new normal table blocker
Nando's Creativity Design for the new normal sanitising station

Sanitising Stations

Designed and manufactured by Takk, this unique, functional piece of furniture incorporates a sanitising dispenser that can be hand or foot operated.

Nando's Creativity Design for the new normal table blocker

Table Blocker Garlands

Designed by Studio Leelynch and manufactured by Ashanti Design, this garland drapes over a single bunk seat and onto the table and chair that accompanies it. This option is a cost-effective solution for removing two seats and a table in a row with other diners seated along a bunk strip. When the garland is applied, the table and two seats are decommissioned and diners are able to social distance at the required 2m spacing when seated on opposite sides of the included garland. Components of the garlands can also be repurposed to become elements in screens or wall cladding in refurbished or future new Nando’s restaurants.

Table Blocker Garlands

Designed by Studio Leelynch and manufactured by Ashanti Design, this garland drapes over a single bunk seat and onto the table and chair that accompanies it. This option is a cost-effective solution for removing two seats and a table in a row with other diners seated along a bunk strip. When the garland is applied, the table and two seats are decommissioned and diners are able to social distance at the required 2m spacing when seated on opposite sides of the included garland. Components of the garlands can also be repurposed to become elements in screens or wall cladding in refurbished or future new Nando’s restaurants.

Nando's Creativity Design for the new normal table blocker
Nando's Creativity Design for the new normal point of sale

Point of Sale Screens

A Perspex and steel frame screen, which is either mounted from the ceiling or stands on the surface of the counter at the till, this POS screen creates a protective barrier between the cashier and the customer. It’s transparent so that face-to-face interactions are still possible, but safely. Designed by Studio Leelynch and manufactured by Pedersen and Lennard.

View the full range here