Takeaway Truth is an occasional Lifehacker feature where we compare marketing images against what you actually get served. Today: Nando's Portuguese Chicken Skewer.
Fast food restaurants have been known to gild the lily when it comes to accurate depictions of their menu items. Far too often, the mouth-watering feast on the poster turns out to be a limp and oily morsel. In a bid to keep the fry-jockey overlords honest, we've decided to document the reality of fast food -- it was either that, or go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
If fast food restaurants were automobiles, the majority would be Datsuns (i.e. -- a cheap and reliable option for budget-conscious families.) Nando's, on the other hand, is more like an Aston Martin -- classy, steeped in tradition and eye-wateringly expensive. Their gleefully sexist and trashy advertising does spoil the analogy somewhat, but then, the same could be said about Bond girls.
Over the past few years, the Portuguese flame-grilled chicken specialist has been winning Aussies over with its adherence to fresh ingredients, healthier cooking methods and spicy 'PERi-PERi' sauce. However, despite paying through the nose it's still possible to end up with a lemon as we recently learned.
The last time Takeaway Truth tested Nando's, the results were quite simply appalling: both the Mini Chicken Burger and Pequeno Mini Chicken Pita bore almost no resemblance to their advertised likeness -- we generously described that pita as "a limp, soggy pocket of sadness", while the miniature burger was a misshapen knob stuffed with cheap lettuce. We found this discrepancy especially galling coming from Nando's, as the chain shamelessly markets itself as an ‘upmarket’ restaurant for cashed-up foodies. Tch, eh?
It was therefore with a cynical eye that we purchased the Nando's Portuguese Chicken Skewer; an elaborately constructed chicken kebab that comes with its own stand. If Nando's is incapable of making a humble pita wrap look like the advertisement, what chance did this thing have?
Below is how the advertised image (left) stacks up to the real thing:
Wow. For perhaps the first time in the history of Takeaway Truth, we really can't find much to criticise. The meat is perhaps slightly oilier looking and isn't cut as elegantly, but otherwise the two images are pretty bang-on. While it's difficult to tell from our photo, the capsicum on our skewer shared the same vibrant colour as on the poster. Even the number of meat pieces is the same.
Doubtlessly, this is down to the foolproof assembly method -- all the employee has to do is thread each component onto a skewer which is pretty hard to stuff up. This just goes to show that sloppy preparation is often the culprit when it comes to Takeaway Truth's biggest losers. Nevertheless, we believe the fault still lies squarely with the company. If your staff can't follow the instructions properly, you're not training them well enough. Have some pride in your product!
As Nando's Portuguese Chicken Skewer has proved, it is possible to make fast food look appetising without hoodwinking the customer. A little attention and care sometimes makes all the difference.
Truth Rating: 9/10
Which fast food franchise or menu item would you like us to tackle next? Let us know in the comments section below.