Spicy chicken chain Nando's says it remains committed to the New Zealand market despite the closure of six restaurants over the past year.
Nando's New Zealand chief executive Justin Scotti said the recent closure of three outlets in Henderson, Takapuna and Wairau Park was the result of a franchise agreement breach, the details of which he would not reveal.
It was the company's intention to re-open those stores, he said.
Scotti said a restaurant in Birkenhead, as well as two regional sites in Whangarei and Whakatane, had also been closed in the last 12 months.
Nando's International purchased the master franchise license for the business in New Zealand in May last year.
The previous license holder, Shivram, was placed in liquidation in March 2014.
That followed complaints from disgruntled franchisees that the business was being mismanaged in this country.
Scotti said the recent store closures did not suggest Nando's was downsizing its presence in New Zealand.
"Considerable investment" had taken place since Nando's International took over the master franchise license, he said.
Scotti said some stores previously run by independent franchisees had been acquired and become company-owned outlets.
"We now have five company-owned and run restaurants and employ nearly 100 staff across our New Zealand business," he said. "We are highly committed to the New Zealand market across new site development, product innovation and building a great working environment for our teams."
Scotti said Nando's, which has 30 stores in this country, was aiming to grow the total number of outlets in New Zealand.
A flagship, company-owned restaurant will open at the top of Auckland's Queen St during the fourth quarter of this year.
"This restaurant will showcase our brand direction and will be our central training restaurant for new franchisees and restaurant managers across our New Zealand operation," Scotti said. "Nando's like-for-like growth remains healthy in New Zealand and we continue to build a strong support base across both our dine-in and take away customers."
Founded in South Africa in the late 1980s, Nando's arrived in New Zealand in 2000 when the first store opened in Glenfield on Auckland's North Shore.