Featured, Food

Nando’s: A Fast Food Chicken Restaurant With a Serious Superiority Complex

In my previous article for our lovely Food section, I talked about how the lack of easily accessible take out options has affected my eating habits. Even though there’s no Moogy’s or Bluestone here in Melbourne, I do have a couple options for a quick meal that I don’t have to prepare. Unfortunately, the prices don’t exactly reflect the quality of food that is presented. Such is the case of Nando’s.

Nando’s is best described to an American as a higher quality hybrid of Boston Market and KFC. The Portugese style chicken chain hails from South Africa, but has over 250 locations here in Australia. Nando’s is like Boston Market in the sense that you can get full chickens (or in quarters of halves if you prefer) and like KFC in that you can get chicken sandwiches (the Aussies call sandwiches burgers here, take a minute and have a laugh about that because no one here understands why I find it funny). Nando’s also offers fries with their signature Peri Peri seasoning. You can find Nandos in food courts or in stand alone locations, like most typical American fast food.

Does this look like a five star restaurant to you?

From the description I’ve provided, you can probably get a general idea of what Nando’s is. The only aspect I haven’t really explained is the price, which is where the problem lies. If you’re a typical adult male like me, you’ll probably need at least a half chicken to satisfy your hunger that’s inevitably brought on by living in such a strenuous society like university life. A half chicken with fries and a drink costs sixteen dollars. That’s right sixteen dollars for a meal at a fast food restaurant. Chicken, fries, and a drink, you don’t even get a toy. I’ve learnt quickly that things in Australia are more expensive, but Nando’s prices are nothing shy of ludicrous.

The only real difference between Nando’s and Boston Market is the sauce that’s put on the chicken. Nando’s offers four types of sauce, lemon and herb, mild, hot, and extra hot. The sauce comes from your fairly standard ingredients and not in fact from the tears of a Portuguese princess as one might expect when paying such premium prices.

Now, I’m not criticizing the quality of Nando’s food. The chicken is delicious and the sauce compliments the meal beautifully. But that doesn’t change the fact that Nando’s is in fact, fast food. You can dress up the chicken all you want, it still comes from a food court and the prices should reflect that. Nando’s is not a sit down restaurant with a full bar and wait staff. There’s no excuse for these prices.

The simple solution to the Nando’s predicament would be not to eat there. But we live in a representative democracy and the people do have a say in matters like how much chicken should cost. Nando’s could be a marvelous beacon of good with its savory menu, but instead it stands as a force of evil by ripping off college students who are living off a fixed income. Nando’s needs to see its error and right its wrongs by lowering its prices.


  1. burgers are in buns, sandwiches in bread

  2. The Colonel

    As it happens, although I agree with Mr Malone that AUS$16 is too much for half a fast-food chicken and some fries, he and I once stumbled upon a legendary rip-off restaurant of legendary proportions. On Boxing Day 2011 we were in Beretta’s gun shop in Manhattan, and desiring some lunch went into Nello’s, an obviously upscale Italian eatery almost next door on Madison Avenue. We each had one glass of perfectly OK ‘house red’ wine (US$24 each plus tax and tip); he had a pasta dish and I had some veal cutlet and mashed potato dish. No coffee, tea or desert, despite the importuning of the very pretty waitress. Two glasses of wine, two dishes: the bill was US$179!

    That very Sunday, “The Haggler” in the New York Times (a columnist who goes to battle on behalf of people swindled by airlines, tourist-trap hotels and restaurants, and other such enemies of humanity) had an article about a chap who had ordered a dish of pasta with truffles – the day’s “special.” The price: $275 for one dish of pasta! Nello’s defense was “Well, we’re near Gucci so you should expect it to be expensive.” My comment: since you’re nearer a gun store should you expect armed robbery? If you want an exemplar inimitabile of what our Jewish friends call “chutzpah,” google Nello’s on Madison Avenue. Don’t ever go there; just laugh and move on.

  3. It the same here in South Africa… overpriced when compared to other fast-food chains and the portions are small.

    No ways about it, it tastes good… but that’s it.

    It is better to buy their bottled sauces (You can in SA, not too sure about your side), buy some chicken at any supermarket, then add the sauce while cooking it. Home made Nandos, just as good, and cheaper!

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