Fast casual chain Nando’s is planning to further bolster its footprint in the UK by opening 14 new restaurant venues in the 2023-2024 financial year after registering a jump in sales.

The peri-peri chicken chain has returned to profit for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, excluding in South Africa.

Nando’s Group chief executive Rob Papps stated: “The macro-economic outlook for 2024 remains uncertain but we are continuing to invest for the future with further menu innovation, enhancements to our digital capabilities and new restaurant openings planned in all our markets, including 14 in the UK.”

Sales were up by almost a fifth to £1.27bn ($1.61bn) for the year from £1.06bn in the previous year.

The increase was attributed to a strong recovery in consumer demand, as well as further restaurant openings.

Nando’s Group Holdings reported an operating profit of £17m for the year to 26 February 2023, compared to a £1.2m operating loss a year previously.

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By GlobalData

The group has managed the impact of cost pressures but expects them to “remain a significant drag” for the rest of 2023-2024.

Papps added: “The 2023 financial year saw Nando’s deliver a steady recovery to pre-pandemic sales and a return to operating profit driven by strong consumer demand for our flame-grilled peri-peri chicken supported by our brand and customer proposition.

“Despite the improved sales performance, cost pressures including higher energy, labour and food prices remained a challenge.”

In August 2023, Nando’s PERi-PERi launched its new summer menu in the US, featuring a new version of its PERi-charged bites.

The new menu was rolled out across all Nando’s restaurants in Washington DC, Virginia Beach, Chicago and Houston. The chain also plans to launch its new menu in Dallas, Texas.

Nando’s PERi-PERi menu includes spicy chicken kale caesar, PERi ranch crunch, a rainbow vegetarian bowl and a PERi chicken rainbow bowl.