An independent chicken shop says it is being “bullied” by Nando’s because the chain is “threatened” by its success.
The chicken giant has launched legal action, accusing Fernando’s in Reading of copying its name and images.
But the Berkshire eatery’s director said TV show Take Me Out was the real inspiration behind the name.
Nando’s said it wants the smaller outlet to rebrand because “we believe it is trying to benefit from some of the things that make us who we are”.
Fernando’s director Asam Aziz said he received a letter from lawyers acting for Nando’s, claiming he was infringing the chain’s intellectual property rights.
He told the BBC: “They are bullying me. It’s such a worry; I’m just an independent business owner.
“I thought I would start something new, a brand of my own but now this has created such a storm.”
Mr Aziz said he and two friends came up with the idea for a Portuguese-style chicken restaurant and they chose a variation of the country’s traditional chicken symbol as a result.
The restaurant opened seven months ago and Mr Aziz said he was overwhelmed by the positive reviews it had received.
He said the name came from the fictitious island winning couples are sent to on game show Take Me Out.
He went on: “Why have they [Nando’s] left it until now to contact me with this; why not do it right at the start?
“I think they’re threatened by me and my menu.”
A Nando’s spokesperson said: “We are really proud of our brand and we know it means a lot to our customers.
“That’s why whenever we think there is trademark infringement we try to sort it out amicably.”