Nando's to create new jobs with third Belfast restaurant: Chicken chain expanding in Northern Ireland
Exclusive: Chicken chain adding at least one new restaurant
Chicken chain Nando's is set to expand further into Northern Ireland with at least one new store, it has been revealed. The company is in the process of hiring new staff for a third Belfast restaurant, bringing at least a dozen new jobs.
As well as its two current branches in the city, it operates a third in Londonderry.
But Nando's, which has become a firm favourite of celebrities in the UK and across the globe, would not reveal the location of the new eaterie, or whether further outlets were planned for the future.
Instead, the chain merely said that the restaurant would open "at the end of the year".
In 2010, Advertising Age magazine named Nando's as one of the world's top 30 hottest marketing brands.
And now the chain is seeking to hire assistant managers for its new offering in Belfast.
Nando's has become the favourite takeaway food fix for a host of international names, including none other than pop diva Beyonce (right).
She reportedly spent almost £1,500 at an Essex branch of the chicken chain in 2013, in addition to several hundred pounds at an outlet in Dublin.
Nando's operates more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 300 across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Singer Ed Sheeran's love of the tangy Portuguese-style griddled chicken ended up with the company designing him a customised bottle of peri-peri sauce.
And the Belfast restaurants have also been popular with celebrities as singer Katy Perry stunned staff with her massive order as she kicked off her world tour at the Odyssey Belfast last May.
The singer ordered 32 whole chickens, 80 portions of rice, 80 coleslaws, 80 garlic breads and 20 chicken wraps.
In 2011 rapper Eminem and his entourage devoured a massive delivery of more than 16 cooked chicken and 60 chicken wings.
He was in Northern Ireland to play at Tennent's Vital in Bangor - his order included 16 flame-grilled chickens, 6 large sides of spicy rice, 6 large sides of creamy mashed potatoes, five large sides of ratatouille, one large order of spicy mixed olives, two orders of hummus with Peri-Peri drizzle and a serving of pitta bread and twelve assorted bottles of Nando's Peri-Peri sauces.
Meanwhile the restaurant also plays host to the Ulster Rugby team - in May this year Paddy Jackson tweeted a photo of a table of food on a visit to the popular restaurant.
The Belfast Telegraph's food critic, Joris Minne, described the prevalence of the South African-born restaurant chain as a "global phenomenon".
"The amazing thing is, it's a Portuguese concept, and there isn't a single one in Portugal," he said. "What's encouraging is that it's a youth market, and there will be a whole new generation of young people eating out.
"Although some people don't like it, I think they do it well, and fair play to anyone who is investing in Belfast or elsewhere in Northern Ireland."
In a review of the company's Bedford Street branch, Minne added: "Once you understand that Nando's is a global kind of place... then you can enjoy it for what it is - modern, cheap, cheerful and a very comfortable haven."
The firm's expansion comes as another popular chain - Ed's Easy Diner - prepares to bring a host of US classics, including burgers, chilli, hotdogs and fries, to its new restaurant on Boucher Road.
It has created around two dozen jobs and sits alongside several other eateries at the new Boucher Square development in the south of the city.
Earlier this year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that a US fast-food chain with Barack Obama's seal of approval was getting ready to set up shop in Northern Ireland.
Five Guys is said to be checking out locations in Belfast as it prepares a roll-out of at least 10 sites across the island.
Meanwhile, Irish fast-food favourite Eddie Rocket's has opened its first outlet in Newry.