WASHINGTON — It can be a risky public relations move when a business makes a political or social statement, but Nando’s Peri-Peri is making one at its D.C. restaurants leading up to and during this month’s presidential inauguration.
Starting Monday, Nando’s is launching a campaign at its D.C. restaurants declaring “#Everyone Is Welcome,” to express the international restaurant chain’s belief in the values of inclusion, diversity and mutual respect.
Nando’s has plastered the windows at all six of its Washington locations with posters proclaiming the chain is “an immigrant employing, gay loving, Muslim respecting, racism opposing, equal paying, multicultural restaurant” where everyone is welcome.
Nando’s expresses no opinion about the outcome of the presidential election, either on its posters or in a statement, saying only this is its reaction to what has been a divisive election season.
It is distributing 60,000 “#EveryoneIsWelcome” posters, minus the Nando’s brand, throughout the Washington area, with a message on the back that says, “Even if you’ve never sat at one of our tables, you’re welcome to stand with us,” hoping other businesses and individuals also will display the message.
A version of the posters is included in copies of the “Express” newspaper, handed out at Metro stations around Washington, and printable, downloadable versions are available.
“This is a statement of who we are, and the values that our company employees hold dear,” said Burton Heiss, CEO of Nando’s Peri-Peri. “It is meant to be as inclusive as possible. We hope that our campaign will catch on and start a conversation about understanding and respect.”
Nando’s is also donating 50 percent of the net proceeds generated at its D.C. restaurants on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 to the D.C. Central Kitchen.
Nando’s, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, opened its first U.S. location in Washington’s Chinatown in 2008.
It has three dozen restaurants in the Washington, its most recent in Ballston, Baltimore and Chicago areas, and about 1,200 locations in 23 countries worldwide.