I have a bone to pick with Nando’s

One of my favorite restaurants has really let me down! Last week for lunch, I ordered up a delicious plate of food and asked for a glass of water. Well, I was pretty surprised when they informed me that they don’t serve tap water – I’d have to choose from the drink list. I’m not huge on soda and didn’t feel like a coffee; if I wanted to drink water, it would have to be bottled water.

At this point I was annoyed as a customer – I respect your right to make a profit, but I don’t appreciate these kinds of tactics. When they served me a bottle of Dasani – which is essentially filtered tap water, I started to get frustrated.

We live in Singapore – a country where we can safely drink fresh water straight from the tap. There is no need for us to drink bottled water, especially water sourced and bottled from the tap of another country. It’s nonsensical.

This careless water policy has no regard to its impact on the environment. The amount of natural resources it takes to produce a plastic bottle, the amount of energy it takes to transport it and the waste it leaves on earth for hundreds of years – all of this for a one-time use. They have to know that the real costs of this policy outweigh any profit that they stand to make.

At the end of my meal I asked the waitress if they recycle the water bottles. She gave a shy smile and said “No, we just throw them away.”  Dasani water bottles are 100% recyclable. It’s bad enough Nando’s denies us the option to choose tap water, but then to not even make the effort to recycle all of this needless waste – well, that just makes me lose my appetite.

When we left, my husband picked up the bottle and carried it out so that we could properly dispose of it. Note to Nando’s, when your customers have to carry out the trash, you’re doing something wrong!

Below is the letter I wrote to them and their response. What do you reckon, a bit of a brush off? Perhaps if you drop them an e-mail, asking them to change their policy on tap water and give consumers the option, it could help us all to reduce our environmental impact.

Contact Nando’s customer service: [email protected]


To: [email protected]
From: Militza Maury <[email protected]>

To whom it may concern,

My name is Militza, the author of the Little Green Dot blog [https://littlegreendot.com/] which promotes an eco-friendly Singapore. I recently ate at the Nando’s restaurant in Bugis and was concerned when I was informed of your drinking water policy.

I understand that you do not offer tap water as an option. If a dining customer wishes to drink water, they need to buy bottled water. This policy is one which encourages waste and I would hope that as a business you are looking to minimize your environmental impact.

There are two major points which I found to be most troubling and I feel need to be addressed:

  • The water source
  • Recycling

With regards to the water source, I question why you serve filtered and bottled tap water imported from Malaysia, when Singapore’s tap water supply is clean and accessible? It seems irresponsible to deny your customers the option of drinking tap water from Singapore, therefore reducing waste and their carbon footprint.

Here are some of my concerns:

  • Bottled water is a waste of natural resources. In the US, 1.5 million barres of oil are used each year to make bottles for the water industry
  • 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled
  • Plastic bottles that are dumped take 700 years to begin composting, or are incinerated, adding to our carbon emissions
  • Bottling and shipping water is the least energy efficient method ever used to supply water

With regards to recycling, the plastic water bottles served are 100% recyclable. I was shocked when I asked a staff member about Nando’s recycling efforts and they informed me that the bottles are just being thrown away – adding to the millions of plastic bottles piling up in landfills each year. 

If you are unsure as to how to handle this matter and need help, I invite you to reach out to the NEA. Tell them you would like to work towards more sustainable business practices and I’m sure they will be happy to assist you.

I hope that you will soon change your policies on serving tap water and institute a recycling program. In the meantime, I look forward to your reply.

Little Green Dot

<><><> Nando’s response <><><>

Dear Militza,

Bom dia! (Good day in Portuguese) 

Thank you for your email and taking time to raise your concerns to continuously promote an eco-friendly Singapore. As always, we welcome all customer feedback and would like to assure you that we take them very seriously.

Please note that your feedback will be passed on to the management for further review. As such, please allow us some time before we may well revert to your concerns.

Once again, thank you for your time and feedback and we will get in touch with you soon.

Obrigado! (Thank you in Portuguese!)

Best Regards,

Brand Manager 

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