The first Nando’s restaurant in the Highlands will open within days as a £13million revamp nears completion at the north’s biggest retail park.
The popular chain, which specialises in chicken dishes, has announced it is poised to begin serving customers at its new outlet in Inverness Shopping Park from January 25.
A Frankie & Benny’s restaurant next door opened last month, with a third family restaurant also due to be built at the site.
The three restaurants have been built at the former Comet store at the retail park.
More than 2,200 people joined an online social media campaign to “Get a Nando’s in Inverness” before the plans were unveiled.
Bosses at the retail park had hoped to have the first two restaurants opened in time for Christmas, but there was a slight delay in the work at Nando’s.
The chain has taken on a 20-year lease on a 4,294sq ft unit at the retail park, at an annual cost of £150,290.
Work at the retail park got under way in June last year, and included an upgrade to some of the existing shops, a new customer services building to house toilets and baby changing facilities, as well as a play area.
Bosses at the site said that 180 full and part-time jobs would be created as a result of the revamp.
Councillors approved the plans in January despite opposition from city centre businesses, including the Eastgate Centre and Inverness BID group, which claimed it would hurt trade in the heart of the Highland capital.
However, a petition urging approval of the three new diners attracted more than 1,200 signatures in less than 48 hours in 2015.
The city-centre Eastgate Centre has since won planning permission to open four new restaurants and a rooftop bar at Falcon Square.
The Nando’s chain, which originated in South Africa and is known for its peri peri chicken dishes, already operates more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 300 in the UK and Ireland.