Famous restaurant chain Nando’s has apologised after a customer expressed concern over a painting in one of its Birmingham restaurants which depicts black people in a toaster.
Colin Hill, head of Nando’s has apologised for the artwork, which was on the walls of the brand in the Perry Barr area of the city after the customer contacted him about it via LinkedIn.
The customer, who is a property investor said:
[The picture was] completely insensitive to one of the worst periods of human history.
It shows four people of colour who have been historically subject to degradation and hardship in an implement – here, a toaster – used to cook or burn bread.
It’s an absolute disgrace that in this day and age, a painting like that can appear in as popular a food chain in modern Britain as Nando’s.
Hill confirmed that the painting was indeed in a Nando’s brand and apologised profusely.
“It’s depiction and potential interpretation had already been identified during our review of the restaurant before being open to customers and should have been removed,” he explained.
It was an oversight on our behalf that this hadn’t happened before we welcomed our first guests.
Each of our restaurants is individually designed and our creative design team select artists and their collections to complement the bespoke design.
On this occasion something has gone wrong with our selection process for specific artworks which has enabled this piece and its potential interpretation to appear.
I will be reviewing our process to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
In response, the customer criticised Hill, calling it “deeply offensive and completely unacceptable.”
As a black man, I think this is completely unacceptable, weird, and deeply offensive.
Many of my friends are white, and they’ve said they are shocked by its depiction of what I can only assume is advocated racism.
Someone will have gone out to buy artwork for the branch, and someone decided that this was an appropriate painting.
Who on earth could have allowed this to happen?
Hill went on to apologise again, but for the customer, the damage was done.
He responded to the restaurant owner again, writing: “You fail to realise there would have been children in the restaurant and a specific demographic that would have been highly offended by that picture.”
I don’t understand how such an oversight could have occurred in a company of your stature – and indeed a company that houses an extremely diverse customer base that transcends race. I guess, in some part, the matter is closed.