In Focus
MENU INNOVATIONS | Staff Reporter, Australia

Find out more about Oporto's transformation to bring an authentic experience to its customers

Vanessa Rowed, Oporto’s head of marketing, spoke with QSR Media about the brand’s heritage and their initiative to bring an authentic experience to their customers.

Back in 1986, Oporto founder Antonio Cerqueira decided to open a chicken shop in North Bondi serving Flame Grilled Portuguese Style Chicken. Now, with more than 145 restaurants, Oporto has undergone refurbishment with their interior, packaging and design, advertising strategy, and has introduced more authentic Portuguese cuisine in their menu.

QSR Media: What's new at Oporto?

The face of Oporto is changing, but the great tasting freshly grilled Portuguese chicken has remained as good as always, and our Bondi Burger has stayed true to its original flavours from 30 years ago. In the last 12 months, Oporto has undergone a significant transformation across every touchpoint – the restaurant design, our packaging, our advertising and communications, our loyalty program – we’ve reduced our menu back to the original favourites and introduced more authentic Portuguese-style food.

QSR Media: What can you say about the consumers of today?

Today’s consumers are being romanced by food brands that have an authentic story behind their food. They want to experience something unique yet also real. With such a vibrant and dynamic food scene, they don’t have to settle for less, so their expectations of quality, service and taste are extremely high.

QSR Media: How does a brand like Oporto reach out to these new consumers?

At Oporto, we have a genuine story to tell about our authentic Portuguese heritage. Our menu was created by Antonio Cerqueira, a Portuguese entrepreneur who started the brand 30 years ago. His original chili sauce was a family recipe. The best way for Oporto to reach out and connect with consumers is actually to remind people of our original products like Portuguese Chicken and our Famous Bondi Burger, as well as educate our customers that our food is real. Our chicken is fresh not frozen, grilled not fried and made from real, wholesome ingredients.

QSR Media: How does Oporto stay ahead of the competition?

The trick to staying ahead of the competition is to not focus on the competition. We run our own race. We focus on staying close to our customers and meeting their needs. It’s simple but it’s true.

QSR Media: What are the current challenges the brand is facing?

The brand has a long standing history, which holds a special place in the heart of our loyal customers. However, educating the next generation about our brand, its heritage and our food is a challenge, when the industry is so dynamic and intense.

QSR Media: Any big plans for the year?

2016 was a huge year for Oporto, however 2017 is turning out to be even bigger. The brand continues to grow its footprint, has ventured into exciting new partnerships (such as the recent Oporto Thins chips promotion) and as usual loads of exciting food news.

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