Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Now the Nandos adverts make sense to me!

“Sir, your order will be ready in six minutes,” says a young cashier at Nando’s (CBD) as she hands me a receipt and points me in the direction of an empty table on the terrace. The place has, of late, turned into my own monthly pilgrimage.

The fast food industry in Gaborone has been growing rapidly over the years and franchises of all sorts have been mushrooming all over the city, with most specialising in chicken. This has been largely thanks to the shopping malls that seem to be sprouting all over.

The world has also changed; people are busier than ever before hence time has never been more precious. No one wants to wait ages for their food anymore and this is testament to the growth of the fast-food industry.

I hardly know of anyone within my circle of friends or acquaintances that has never had a taste of Nando’s chicken. This international franchise can be found all over the urban areas of the country. I had always dismissed it as like any other fast-food chicken despite intriguing and unconventional television and billboard advertising.

Even the ‘I love Nando’s’ graffiti I got to see almost daily splashed across the gigantic Map Type Guidance Sign at the Molapo Crossing intersection did not seem to arouse my curiosity.

It was love at first bite; I literally fell in love with the spicy ‘flame grilled’ chicken as soon as I sunk my teeth in its succulent thighs and breasts. Since that time, my patronage has been somewhat inexorable and the ads finally began to make sense.

And boy do they speak volumes.

They always seem to take a swipe at the competition like the one that goes “oil is meant for your car, not your chicken”. Or, more recently, the wall paper at their Game City branch (it was going through renovations) that reads “when the chicken is out chicks will play” which one can only speculate was directed at their competition on the opposite side of the complex.

The famous chicken, marinated for twenty-four hours, comes flame-grilled or as a breast fillet in a Portuguese roll, toasted pitta or wrap, depending on what rocks your taste-buds. But we all know the people’s favourite in the menu has to be the quarter/half/full chicken accompanied by the seasoned chips which you can have in plain, mild, hot or extra hot depending on your taste buds.

After trying the extra hot once and being left tearful following just a single bite, I realised my peri-peri tolerance allows me to only go as far as hot.

Let us face it; as exciting, tantalising and adventurous as the tolerance of peri-peri sounds, too much chillies take away some level of delectation from food. The seasoned chips are also to die for, but they may not necessarily be the best in town. I believe it is safe to say I have had better fries.

You can also enjoy their range of sandwiches, burgers, desserts and, for vegetarians and the health conscious (although they say flame-grilling the chicken means it loses lots of its fat), they have the salads and other vegetarian dishes. But honestly, ‘healthy’ is not the first thing that comes to mind when you enter a fast food restaurant.

The other thing one might appreciate about the fast food restaurants like Nando’s is the casual atmosphere that makes you feel at home. It appeals to everyone, rich or poor. There is no (sometimes self imposed) strict etiquette associated with haute-cuisine restaurants which makes the place a favourite for the whole family.

The service is also top notch.


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