Pranksters say April Fools’ ‘hoax’ proves appetite for Nando’s in Burnley

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PRANKSTERS behind the Burnley Nando’s restaurant hoax say the stunt proved there is a real appetite for the chicken chain in town.

John Ashley (23) and Matt Rees (21) caused a huge buzz when they set up a Facebook page claiming the popular Portugese-style restaurant was set to open in Trafalgar Street this Autumn.

More than 2,000 people “liked” the official-looking social network page in just a matter of hours and the site attracted dozens of messages of support from food fans.

The pair orchestrated the prank as an April Fools’ Day joke which began by circulating rumours several weeks ago about a new Nando’s restaurant coming to Burnley.

John and Matt researched the company’s marketing campaign’s and created a convincing Facebook page and even produced banners they planned to put up across town.

But the two friends were amazed when the site went viral in Burnley on social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

John, who runs the Bees Knees Bar in Burnley, said: “It’s crazy. We have done it a few times, but not on this scale. This one did really well – it went viral.

“We were going to do it as an April Fools’ prank but we turned it into something positive.

“We launched the page and we got more than 2,000 ‘likes’ in 12 hours. It just spread. It was insane.

“I find it amazing that young people are so hyped about Nando’s.”

The pair had hoped to top the number of “likes” of the official Facebook page of Bury Nando’s, the closest restaurant to Burnley, in a bid to bring the chicken chain to East Lancashire.

But officials at Nando’s, famous for its flame-grilled peri-peri chicken, scotched the rumours of any imminent opening in town.

However, Nando’s regional director Paul Reason said the stunt proved there was a clear demand for peri-peri chicken in Burnley and said that the town was “on the radar”.

John said: “The Nando’s comments were very positive. They did not rule it out. There is no reason why they shouldn’t open in Burnley – it’s a great business opportunity because we all like Nando’s.

“More than 2,000 people in 12 hours speaks for itself.”