Stage Audio Works and Lumalytic deliver a harmonious audio-visual experience for new Nando’s store

SAW provides an Audac audio system that synergises with Lumalytic’s scheduled lighting system, immersing customers and staff.

Nando’s is a premium global brand that boasts over 1,000 restaurants worldwide. Proud of its Southern African origins, Nando’s has commissioned local art from the outset to decorate its restaurants; consequently, the chain now possesses the largest privately owned collection of contemporary Southern African art in the world. Recently Nando’s inaugurated one of its latest restaurants, located in the acclaimed Mall of Africa, Johannesburg. Much like the collection of art, the cultural resonance of audio is also an important touchpoint for the brand. In fact, Nando’s run an entire radio station across all their restaurants that delivers a carefully curated Afro-Luso playlist. Heatwave Radio combines the ‘beats of Africa along with the fiery rhythms of Latin America’, an ode to the Afro-Portuguese heritage of the company.

Innovative retail solutions specialists Lumalytic secured the tender to handle audio-visual design and integration for the new restaurant, pitching a solution that provides background music (BGM) and lighting with unparalleled control across multiple zones. Lumalytic partnered with Stage Audio Works (SAW) who assisted with the design and supply of the audio element. SAW specified a comprehensive Audac system in response to the restaurant’s needs.

The goal was to deliver a high quality, zoned audio-visual solution where the lighting and audio work in synergy. A key requirement was the automated control of these elements throughout the day to create the right ambiance at the right moment. The spectacular LED lighting solution runs on a DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) network and is controlled via a Q-SYS Core which also provides flexible audio control across three zones.

This system effectively splits the day into four distinct periods of business, where audio and lighting are scheduled according to the time of day and correlating levels of activity. For instance, from 6-9am, as the restaurant is preparing to open, both audio and lighting levels are raised to invigorate staff, setting them up for the day. During the day these levels are muted slightly to accommodate for the natural buzz, before the music is intensified, and the lighting dimmed for the evening. The Q-Sys core also handles physical audio zoning and source selection – including Nando’s radio station Heatwave Radio – throughout the restaurant.

The Audac audio solution is based on a variety of ceiling loudspeakers spread across three distinct zones: the main restaurant seating area, the back of house (BOH) staff-only area including the kitchen, stores etc., and the famous PERi-PERi chicken grill. To cover the restaurant floor, SAW specified eight ultra-compact CELO2s whose uncompromising sound quality belie their bijou proportions. Low end reinforcement is provided by a pair of CELO8S ceiling subwoofers. Both models were fitted with black grilles to match seamlessly with the restaurant’s interior. To ensure that audio playback was consistent throughout the site, multiple CIRA530D loudspeakers with Audac’s patented QuickFit™ mounting mechanism were installed in the BOH area, so that all staff, fondly referred to as Nandocas, share the same experience. Finally, a pair of Audac AWP06 waterproof, IP65-compliant ceiling speakers were installed by the grill, so that output would not be affected by any steam produced.

Mike Summerfield elaborates on the motivation behind SAW’s specification: “We went with Audac as their ceiling loudspeaker offering provides an array of high-end, versatile and aesthetically pleasing solutions. They are exceptionally easy to install, and the sound quality is second to none, which is crucial to creating an immersive atmosphere.” He continues, “Nando’s is well known for taking good care of its employees. As such, it was imperative that the staff had their own BGM system for the BOH. It’s a model that has served them well, as this staff-centric approach translates to increased productivity, and happy customers.”

As part of the second phase of the installation, Lumalytic installed an ambient microphone which allows music to adjust automatically to ambient sound levels. This helps to regulate the volume according to the level of traffic in the store.

This entire system is powered by two Audac EPA254 quad channel amplifiers, which are housed neatly along with the other rackmount equipment in a Stage Plus cabinet in the manager’s office. The EPA254’s minimal weight and compact size, combined with high energy efficiency makes them the perfect choice for an installation of this scale. Finally, all cabling used in the integration was from PROCAB, a brand that offers cost effective, professional standard cabling to suit any environment.

Shawn Godfrey, Executive Director of Lumalytic: “We were honoured to play a part in the reimagining of the Nando’s in-restaurant experience. With SAW’s assistance, we delivered a cutting-edge audio-visual system with sophisticated automation that manages every element to deliver appropriate levels and ambience throughout the day.”

“Working with SAW is always a pleasure,” he says in summary. “Not only do they provide top quality equipment; Mike and the team always strive to help us do our job, providing the system design and support during the integration if needs be. Thanks to this support, we were able to complete and sign off this project quickly and efficiently. The customer is happy, and so are we.”