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Every year my parents buy a book of vouchers for various businesses in Victoria. It’s one of those deals where businesses (mostly restaurants) pay for advertising space to have their tear-off vouchers in the book (which typically allow a discount of between $5 and $30) and the customers buy the book for something like $40 (I’m not really sure as I don’t pay). Every year I take my pick of the vouchers that don’t suit my parents, the Nando’s chain of chicken and chips restaurants that specialises in Peri-Peri spicy sauce  is one that doesn’t suit my parents (they prefer the traditional English-Australian food).
The Nando’s vouchers say “Enjoy one complimentary 1/4 flame-grilled peri-peri chicken item when another 1/4 flame-grilled peri-peri chicken item is purchased” with no explanation of exactly what an “item” is. Every Nando’s store that I’ve been to in the past has interpreted “item” as chicken and chips, usually they include the drink that comes with the “quarter chicken meal” in the “item” that is free. I can do without a second soda as it’s really cheap from the supermarket and I’m not going to drink two at one meal anyway so I’m not bothered when someone interprets the voucher as not involving a free drink. But the lack of chips is annoying.
At the Nando’s store on Swanston St between La Trobe St and Little Lonsdale St they interpret “item” as being just the 1/4 chicken. I think that most people would regard this as an unusual interpretation. If the intent was to only offer 1/4 chicken then the voucher could have stated that a free 1/4 chicken was offered and removed all doubt. The fact that the voucher says a free “1/4 flame-grilled peri-peri chicken item” instead of offering a free “Quarter Chicken” (which is the description for chicken on it’s own on the Nandos menus) seems to be a reasonable indication that more than just the free chicken is offered.
I won’t be attending the Nandos store on Swanston St again and recommend that others avoid it too. Failing to offer the full value on the voucher is annoying, it decreases the value for money (which is a problem given how expensive Nandos is), and it makes me wonder what other cost-saving measures might be used at that store. I’ve got a stack of vouchers (many of which will expire before being used) and the Melbourne CBD has many places to eat.