Dining out doesn’t happen very often now that we have two children.
Aside from having zero disposable income every month, we also find it tricky to enjoy a meal while one of our dining partners is screaming they don’t like the colour of the table.
But when we do make it out, Nando’s is a safe bet. Or so you’d think.
Our latest visit proved it’s not as simple when you have two kids. Here’s all you need to know about visiting Nando’s with kids.
Pray they’re not busy
The purpose of picking a venue like Nando’s is that you expect the food to arrive quickly after ordering. But if they’re busy you might face a wait of up to 20 minutes.
Doesn’t sound bad, right? Try telling that to a toddler who’s been expecting chips since you mentioned going out for lunch two hours ago.
As everyone is picking out their meal, you keep one eye on the queue by the cash register.
It’s empty now, but you haven’t decided on which sides you want. Chips, mash, corn on the cob? Now you’ve left it too late and missed your chance. The queue is five people deep.
This is the ultimate first world problem.
If you can’t stand the heat
Don’t let your toddler try the extra hot sauce. They will need a gallon of milk to recover.
On the other hand, if you have children that snatch everything off of your plate then you may want to use this as an opportunity to teach them not to risk ever doing it again.
Be prepared to say sorry, a lot
As chaos descends on your table, you can guarantee you will have been sat next to the sensible middle-class couple who have heard all about Nando’s from their 19-year-old nephew and wanted to “see what all the fuss was about”.
Across the restaurant are all the other parents, where you would be free from judgement.
On this side of the room you apologise for every scream and flung chip and when your toddler won’t stop staring at them as they try to eat their food.
Still, you’ve given the couple a shocking story about slumming it to tell horrified friends at their next supper club.
Cover their ears
Nando’s is the natural habitat of teenagers and students. You’re basically on safari in their environment so there’s sod all you can do when they casually drop the f-bomb into every other word of their conversation because they think it makes them sound cooler.
The students will be talking about how they had a, like, totally mental night at the union last night and they’re, like, so hungover they might, like, you know, die.
If you don’t, your kids will chew on, rip up and draw all over the menu.
If you’ve forgotten, get creative. Give them any old rubbish from your handbag. Even a crinkled up receipt is like receiving a new iPhone for a baby.
The staff will hate you
In the chaos of collecting all of your belongings, you will leave the table in an absolute state.
Clearing the plates will hardly scratch the surface, because the entire surface of the table has been used as a plate.
Discarded chicken bones, crumbs, sauce, the little toothpicks with flags on showing how hot the chicken is are littering the table.
You’ve also left the remnants of various bits of food that Nando’s doesn’t even serve. There’s a half-eaten pot of yoghurt, banana skin,
Even though you brought distractions, the menu is still a tattered wreck in the floor.
Expect the unexpected
Expect to find squashed chips and bits of coleslaw on the bottom of shoes and down nappies.
Be careful putting your hand into your bag too, there may be an unwelcome surprise for you in there.
Despite the risk of embarrassment, stress and inability to enjoy your food, it’s nice getting out as a family every now and then.
Making it out of the house and all the way through a meal at Nando’s might seem like a small step for some, but it’s a giant leap for mumkind.