The man behind Mozambik’s excellence, the aptly named Brett Michielin – Dr Brand

Mozambik, a South African restaurant, distinguishes itself across the country with its unique approach. Despite minimal advertising and absence from LinkedIn, it garners attention through exceptional service and cuisine. Founded by globally trained chef Brett Michielin, each outlet maintains a distinct identity. Their success lies in authentic leadership, intuitive customer service, and a genuine connection with patrons. Dr. Thomas Oosthuizen praises their approach, highlighting the essence of human-centric branding in the industry.

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By Dr. Thomas Oosthuizen (Dr Brand)*

A South African restaurant that emerged from Ballito across SA, does not advertise, never talks about itself, and is never on LinkedIn

They use Facebook when new branches open

Hardly anyone knows the CEO outside of Ballito

Brett Michielin is a globally trained chef, who worked in restaurants and hotels in Europe, in Michelin-starred restaurants, and was taught by the best

The chain is #mo-zam-bik

To call it a “chain” is not right, as it bears a unique signature

I met #BrettMichielin, the owner, shortly after moving to Ballito. At that point, he had one restaurant. I went once and was sold

I knew this was unique. The food was excellent, but the staff was exceptional. Not just well trained, but they had spunk, personality, joked, laughed, freedom to delight customers in ways they saw fit, and did impromptu things. I asked Brett then, “Why do you not go global, of all the SA restaurants other than Nandos’ your personality is unique, not just your decor or menu. He said “Maybe one day”

They had the magic sauce that Nando’s UK & IRE has. It is hard to emulate, as it is in soft variables. All service establishments can train staff, that is easy. What is much harder, is training staff in the aptitude that makes a brand unique. It is a feeling, not a fifty-page manual of which most are the same anyway

Brett has that feeling. The staff know it, it is authentic. They don’t learn words, they learn behaviours

Selfridges get that right. Emirates had it right and is still better than most

It requires vision and a fearless intuition

One thing I will never forget. The night before I moved to the UK, Brett popped into my house for a glass of wine. We chatted, and I shed the odd tear, even if I knew I was coming back one day

After about two hours, Brett left. Both of us have shed a few tears

40 minutes later, two food platters arrived. It contained items I always ordered … his staff remembered what they were. I sat there crying

That is the attitude that makes business iconic. Not reading textbooks, which is why great brands are not recipe

Running a brand is not that hard. It is intuition that enables you to do it in a manner that you either have or not. That stems from a leadership that is not arrogant, or all talk… as so many industries show us

Authenticity shows customers know better than executives. These are the soft variables research cannot easily identify. Maybe AI will help

Sasol Oil, whose Little Boy commercial remains the most liked ever in SA according to Kantar, and I often spoke about the fact that we knew, within seconds, whether an idea was right

You have done this Brett, and let me congratulate you. You often said my little Brand Book helped you, I know it was sincere, but you did it by yourself

Well done, you are a real human. Keep on flying

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*Dr. Thomas Oosthuizen, known in his South African homeland as Dr Brand, is a renowned marketing expert with extensive experience in both academia and industry. Known for his innovative approaches to consumer behavior and branding, Dr. Oosthuizen has helped numerous companies enhance their market presence. This article appeared first on his LinkedIn page (click here).

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