12 Nando's hacks, incl 1.8 million unclaimed freebies, £5 off a meal for two

12 Nando's hacks, incl 1.8 million unclaimed freebies, £5 off a meal for two

In recent years, Nando's has become one of the nation's favourite restaurants - but as Nando's discounts tend to be quite rare, cutting the cost of your chicken 'n' chips fix isn't easy. So hopefully these tricks can help you save a few quid.

This follows our earlier 20+ McDonald’s Hacks (please eat responsibly!) and I’m already researching hacks for more restaurants. We've based these hacks on eating in, though some will be available for collection. Let’s have a cheeky look at my Nando’s hacks…

Check Nando's loyalty cards for 1.8 million unclaimed rewards

According to Nando’s as of April 2019, there are 1.8 million unclaimed freebies lying forgotten in cupboards and drawers throughout the country. That’s a lot of free chicken, which could be lost forever as its loyalty card rewards are only valid for one year.

So if you’ve a Nando’s Card lurking in your wallet or at home, it’s worth doing a quick check online (once you’ve registered it), or in a Nando’s restaurant, to see if there’s anything on it you can claim.

If you don’t have a loyalty card, and you’re a Nando’s regular, getting one’s a bit of a no-brainer. You get a ‘chilli’ for every £7 you spend, which then count towards free food – you'll get one just for registering.

Here are the rewards, and how many chillies you’ll need to have on your card before you can claim them:

  • Free ¼ chicken or FireStarter (norm £3.70-£4.10) - Three chillies (green reward)
  • Free ½ chicken or choice of burger, pitta or wrap (norm £6.45-£7.60) - Six chillies (orange reward):
  • Free whole chicken or any combo meal with two sides (norm £7.60-£13.50) - 10 chillies (red reward)

Two of you ordering half a chicken, drinks and sides? Order EXACTLY the same food for £5.05 less

If two (or more) are eating together, platters work out best value for money as you get exactly the same food for two as on 2x individual orders.

As an example, those ordering two lots of half a chicken with chips and drinks pay £26, however ordering the ‘meal platter’, which comes with a whole chicken, two regular sides and two bottomless drinks only costs £20.95 (saving £5.05). The same principle applies to all the platters:

  • Wing platter for £18.40 - 10 chicken wings and 4 regular sides (50p saving on two chicken wing meals).
  • No bones platter for £22.95 - One chicken butterfly and four chicken thighs plus 4 regular sides (25p saving on two meals).
  • Jumbo platter for £45.95 - Two whole chickens and 5 large sides (£6.05 saving on ordering separately).

Order a double chicken burger? Get MORE meat for 60p less

The chicken you get in a Nando’s burger contains a smaller piece to fit it in the bun. However if you're ordering a double chicken burger, you can get a bumper stacked burger by making it yourself.

If you order a butterfly chicken (£8.25 - for two chicken breasts) and buy a Portuguese bread roll for 90p (which is the exact same roll as you'll find on the burger), you can make yourself a DIY burger for only £9.15.

You won't get the lettuce or tomato, but you can add your own condiments and create a burger mountain which is tricky to get your mouth around. We didn't test how much more you get with scales, but from what we can see, it's a bigger size.

Here's one I made earlier. The burger on the left is my own leaning tower of burger, while the right is the usual double chicken burger

20% off for emergency services, forces & NHS

It isn’t widely known, but if you’re part of the NHS, emergency services or armed forces, you can get 20% off your food and drink bill (max £4 off) at Nando’s simply by showing a valid photo ID card before placing your order. It works when eating in, and on in-restaurant takeaway orders - but not online or delivery orders.

The discount’s valid for the whole table but unfortunately, you can only use it once per day, so can't split transactions. Even if you personally don’t work for any of the above – but know someone who does – you may still be able to benefit.

Order a large fries instead of two regular for 40p cheaper

Ordering two separate regular portions of fries at £5.20 isn’t the best value. If two of you want fries, order a large fries to split between you (£4.80). Not only does it save you 40p, when we checked, we got 82 chips in the large size and 68 in two regular sizes (14 extra chips in the large portion).

Chipping hell! The two regular portions are on the left, and the one large portion on the right.

Order Butterfly Chicken? Get more for 65p less (if you don't mind bones)

Butterfly Chicken (Mango & Lime), is my personal ‘go to’ Nando’s dish – though you can actually get more chicken for 65p less by ordering something else entirely.

If you don’t mind your chicken on the bone, go for the half chicken. It comes in at £7.60 (the butterfly’s £8.25). I'm no chicken expert, but according to the website, there are more calories in the half chicken (600ish) compared to the butterfly chicken (300ish), so you seem to get more for your money.

Just look at the difference! The half chicken is on the left compared to the butterfly chicken on the right.

Make DIY PERInaise for free

PERInaise usually costs an extra 60p to add onto your meal on the side – but you can make it yourself for free. It may not be the exact same taste, but it's a cheaper alternative.

When we checked, Nando's no longer stock mayonnaise in the condiments bar, so instead ask for some in a pot, then add whichever spice to it you like. Mix it together with a fork (or a chip) and you’ve just made some DIY PERInaise. You can make as much as you want too.

We tested it out, and although it wasn't exactly the same taste, we still enjoyed it!

Want a smaller meal? The kids menu can save you £3.50+

If your usual order is the chicken wings meal or the chicken burger, and you can live with the portion being a bit smaller, you can save yourself £3.50-£4.50. Simply order a kids’ meal from the ‘Nandinos’ section (which anyone can do), which gets you either three chicken wings or a smaller chicken burger meal with two sides and a drink for £5.95.

The sides you get are slightly smaller, but if you only wanted a small meal, this is a great option.

Use your loyalty stamps wisely

It’s all well and good getting chillies and free food, but claiming them effectively is key. Nando’s has cleverly designed the rewards scheme so that you still spend when claiming them.

Claiming a free ¼ chicken for example will save you £4.10 buying it on its own, but you’ll still have to pay £5.20 for two regular sides if you normally have a combo meal. Getting a combo meal would only cost you £3.50 to add the two sides, so you're only really saving £1.70.

However, we worked out that the lowest value redemption (three chillies) are actually the best value based on what you spend. If you can pick the right time to spend them (when you aren't buying a combo meal), that is when you save the most.

No. of chillies

Cost to obtain them

Max reward value

Return on investment

🌶️🌶️🌶️ £21 minimum £4.10 19.5%
🌶️🌶️🌶️
🌶️🌶️🌶️
£42 minimum £7.60 18.1%
🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
£70 minimum £13.50 19.2%

How to get free water

Nando’s happily offer you free water with your meal if you didn’t want to order a bottomless or alcoholic drink. They’ll give you a smaller glass to fill up with water (the dispenser is normally next to the soda fountain), and it won’t cost you anything. Bottomless drinks regularly cost £2.80 a pop, so it’s a good saving for bottomless water instead.

Avoid the sugar tax

As you might’ve heard, there’s now a tax on some fizzy drinks (see full info how the 'Sugar tax' works), but only one drink at Nando’s is affected. If you choose original Coca-Cola for your bottomless drink, it’ll cost you an extra 20p more. You can easily avoid the tax by going for any other drink, such as Sprite, Fanta or Coke Zero.

Make Nando’s at home

And finally, it’s not strictly a real Nando’s, but you can save a whole lot on your meal by making it yourself at home. At most major supermarkets, you can pick up Nando’s branded cooking marinades, peri-peri salt and spice rubs to make yourself a Nando’s at home (and you can save even more money by making your own version totally from scratch).

You can pick up a whole pack of chicken breast at the supermarket for £3-4, and the marinades are priced between £1-3, so you can make a bigger batch of Nando’s style chicken for three to four people for around £1-2 per head.

You can see a bumper list of recipes on the Nando's website to make it all yourself from home.

Do you have any Nando’s hacks that you use? I’d love to know in the comments below, on Twitter @MSE_Deals or on Facebook. The best ones might even be featured!