Charles Ighalo Written by Charles Ighalo · 1 min read >

Food is an essential commodity that humans must take to survive even when it is not pleasant. It is so popular that so many people can prepare food and produce varying taste across different cultures. Cooking food for sale as a business feels easy considering these facts, however it is the hardest business to venture.

 The value chain of food business is very broad and creates huge opportunities for engagement and transaction for business minded people. The chain is all encompassing of input (raw materials), production and output (ready for consumption). Every part of it connotes an industry that requires outstanding need for patience and knowledge for success. The input aspect of food business is Agriculture (crops and animals), processing is the conversion of agriculture produce to ready for consumption. In my option, this is the biggest part of it with a perimeter dimension that is border-less.

For this blog, the attention will be on output, and in its most underrated food item. A food item that gives the best profit margin with less competition. The business is Barbecue grilling, a business that is commonly done by people at the lower middle and poor in Nigeria. Even when an entrepreneur takes it up scale to a fancy restaurant, the preparation at the back end will still be done by these people. Suya is the worst, it is completely tribal, it must be handled by people from Northern Nigeria also known as ABOKI. Nobody can tell where this understanding or segregation came from but over the years it has been accepted and never questioned. It is as bad as people not patronizing Suya places where the sellers are from Southern part of Nigeria.

Twelve years ago, I started a car wash business in Surulere, and it blossoms to having people in good number waiting for their cars to be washed before leaving. These waiting customers most time converse, order for drinks and entertain themselves while waiting and it grew beyond a car wash to a gossip (for lack of better word) centre. This opportunity I capitalized, and built a shed for sitting, grill for barbecue and a see-through fridge for drinks. Like every business, we had of our phase of teething issues and eventually got the recipe right and it became a blast. The barbecue business later overtook the car wash and request for partnership from top restaurants within and beyond our neighbourhood came in large numbers.

Fast forward to present day, we have an established brand with over 15 outlets in partnership across Lagos state. The average margin in this business is comfortable 60% after cost with the tendency of monopoly if your packaging is correct and recipe standard. The difference between my idea and the roadside Aboki is packaging and cleanliness. Certain class of people will not go to the roadside guy and buy Suya even when there is a crave for it and this applies to every business.

In conclusion, every entrepreneur should understand the act of identifying the customer need and know how to present it. This is the difference business requires for success. #EMBA27


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