RUMOURS a popular restaurant chain will be moving to Worthing have proven to be false – but the company has confirmed the town is “on its radar”.
Last week, rumours began to circulate that Nando’s was moving to the town, with the former Blockbuster store being mooted as the site for the international restaurant chain.
A Facebook group, called Nandos Worthing, started the rumour about the restaurant coming to the town and has now received more than 1,800 likes.
But the food giant dismissed that rumour on its official Twitter account, adding Worthing was “on its radar” but a site had not yet been found.
It has since been confirmed that Morrison’s has expressed an interest in the former Blockbuster site in Chapel Road.
Large numbers of people took to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to spread the rumour and express their support for it.
Sharon Clarke, Worthing town centre manager, said she was hopeful Nando’s would notice the popular reaction and up its efforts to find a site in Worthing.
She said: “I think it shows the power of social media/ We knew it was under offer from Morrison’s because the licensing notice was on the window.
“We brought it to Nando’s attention there had been more than 1,700 likes in the hope we could demonstrate there’s a big demand for it in Worthing.
“My daughter is 19 and she absolutely loves it.
“It’s quite a good social place for younger people. It’s not too expensive and it’s a low-key place to go.
“A lot of people say there’s not a lot to do for the teens and early 20s in Worthing and Nando’s would particularly appeal to that demographic.”
Nando’s, a South African restaurant chain which specialises in chicken dishes with a Portugese and Mozambiquan theme, has two restaurants in Brighton and is also based in Chichester.
Mrs Clarke said it was a positive sign when large chains expressed an interest in moving to Worthing, because it was a reflection of the economic health of the town.
“It’s all about having a good offer. We want a good combination of retail and food offer that will appeal to people and increase footfall in the town.
“It also shows the success of a town if a chain shows an interest in moving there.
“The fact Jessops here is only one of 18 in the country to re-open is really positive news for Worthing.”
Mrs Clarke added seaside towns like Worthing needed to “punch above their weight” to attract the biggest chains because footfall was lower compared with in-land areas.