By Bimbola Oyesola
The importance of food to human survival cannot be underestimated. Even those on spiritual exercise would have to get some time to break their fast and replenish the body. In this period of recession, when people are cutting down on their expenses as a way of survival, while some are reducing eating out, restaurant business is still considered a lucrative business in the country. Everyone needs to eat at least once in a day while most people eat three times or more every 24 hours.
Running a restaurant, depending on the investors and capital at hand still remains one of the ventures that may be an easy way for a starter who is looking for a way out to eke a living in this economy. But the beauty of a restaurant is that it gives customer a more homely and local dishes than the fast food joints, which may be a niche and good selling point.
However, surviving in the trade takes more than a managerial skill, it is a combination of all, management, good marketing plan, pricing strategy, convenient place for customers and the rest. Just like any other businesses there must be consistent cash flow for the business to survive.
The following could be a guiding steps towards owning a flourishing restaurant business.
Going into a business without a proper knowledge is like taking a wrong foot out, so the first step to take is to analyse the food industry in the country, viz-a-viz, proposed place or region you want to operate. Estimate the population of people that live around and move around the region. Seek how to get the best suppliers of food stuff and how best to store them. Don’t rush this section as it has the edge to determine if your restaurant will function in the next 2 years or not. A detailed study of your environment gives you an edge over competitors or a better way to start.
A good spot gives you an edge over competitors around and a good sign post will attract more customers towards you. Having a good location is indeed essential, hence an investor must endeavour to find a location that draws crowd or have frequent movement of people. A site that is easily accessible to people by car, public transport or pedestrian.
Decide what type of menu you will like to be serving to people in your business. One thing that can give one an edge in the business is speciality. For example, one can focus on region, like Calabar Kitchen, Akwa Ibom menu, Igbo, Yoruba dishes and others. Many go for local dishes, some intercontinental dishes, sea foods, coffee and burgers, or fast foods. Have in mind that attractive menu lists should start with the preparation method like fried rice, grilled chicken, roasted ram, ewedu soup, bitter leaf soup, egusi soup, spicy fried chicken, saucy vegetable among others. This will attract the customers and give them information on how the dish is prepared than making them to ask if the chicken is grilled, cooked or fried. Make your menu list to be very clear with pictures of the proposed foods.
A good plan
Plan your restaurant business setup with a clear detailed business plan starting from the executive summary to the funding aspect. State clearly how you intend to fund your business in the future and how likely you will manage your staffs. Planning before hand is a crucial fact in restaurant business. This also may help in case of future expansion, as this is one of the requirements a financial institutions will look for before giving out loans.
Hiring staff is a very serious stage of this business and one has to concentrate on hiring people with good passion, experience, skills, very good chefs, good manager to help make better decisions in the success of the business. They have to be well-trained in their respective positions and hire them at least 5 weeks to the opening of the restaurant to enable them adapt to the work requirements.
When it comes to operating a restaurant, it is important to ensure that you acquire brand new equipment. As a matter of fact, kitchen utensils and equipment are affordable. Some of the kitchen utensils and equipment that you would need to launch your restaurant are:
•flat screen TVs
•POS machines, and bar equipment (optional).
If you have the required finance, it will be to the owners advantage to acquire a property or lease a facility to be used for the restaurant as it usually gives you the freedom to design the facility the way you want it to be. But if low on cash, then you don’t have any option other than to rent a facility for your restaurant.
Usually in a restaurant, raw foods and cooking ingredients are purchased; they are cooked / prepared in the kitchen (different delicacies) and then served / sold to customers as requested. It is a simple process it is all about cooking and serving.
The marketing plan
This means creating brand awareness and corporate identity for your restaurant. One can employ mainstream marketing channels like radio, TV, and print media. In recent time, most business including the restaurant industry relies on the internet and social media platforms to increase sales, promote their corporate identity and increase their brand awareness as well. If you have the money, you can as well sponsor events it will definitely boost your brand awareness.
Restaurant business just like any other business in the food industry requires media hype to get people to buy into the brand. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to create brand awareness of your restaurant and to promote your corporate identity in the market place;
Place adverts on national and local TV stations, radio stations and newspapers/magazines. You can also run your own special TV programme, sponsor relevant community programmes, Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook , Badoo, YouTube, Twitter et al, Install your Bill Boards on strategic locations, Engage in road show from time to time, distribute your fliers and handbills to targeted areas from time to time, Send out introductory letters to multinationals, embassies, and Diaspora organisations and networks in and around your location.
It is important to state that the success of any business lies in the commitment and dedication of the employees. So if you intend running a successful restaurant, then you must ensure that you carry every member of your team along. You should create time for meetings; a time where goals, processes and issues will be reviewed et al.
In all, hard work and dedication is one of the traits necessary for any business, hence it is important to build a smart and tenacious team, to have a good team.
Ebonyi partners investors to revive NigerCem
From Omodele Adigun and Uche Usim, Abakiliki
For Nigerian Cement (NigerCem) Plc, Nkalagu, better days are here as Ebonyi State government is to liaise with private investors to revive the company.
The state Governor, Mr. Dave Umahi, disclosed this Tuesday in Abakaliki at the opening ceremony of the CBN workshop for finance correspondents and Business editors.
According to Umahi, who was represented by his Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the State, Augustine Nwankwagu, the state would collaborate with a private investor to ensure that NigerCem comes back on stream.
He said when fully operational, the company would provide employment opportunities for its citizens and boost both the state and the nation’s economy.
Umahi said the state is blessed with over 29 mineral resources which include salt and limestone.
And with emphasis on the diversification of the economy to non-oil sectors, the Governor called on investors to partner with Ebonyi to harness the rich mineral resources in the state.
He also said that Ebonyi is a beneficiary of the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, adding that it is involved in various agricultural programmes as it is vigorously pursuing food sufficiency for its citizens through its ‘one man one hectare’ policy among several other efforts.
How Nigeria can reclaim status as Africa’s largest economy
By Charles Nwaoguji
Nigeria as at 2014 was largest economy in African, but things have gone awry and it is now 3rd after South Africa and Egypt. But experts believe that Nigeria needs to deploy all its possible resources to ensure that the economy grows at an average rate of 6-7 per cent per annum.
At moment, the country is faced with decayed infrastructure, rising poverty of about 70 percent, rising and embarrassing rates of unemployment and underemployment and rising inflation of 17 percent. The real sector is dead and cannot be revamped with an average interest rate of almost 28 percent. The agricultural sector remains at peasantry level; power supply is epileptic and a near collapse of basic social services such as education, health, housing, running water, poor sanitation, among others.
However, if Nigeria is to bounce back as largest economy in Africa, it needs to raise its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It has to be mindful of other indices. Naira has to be strong vis a vis the dollar, but more importantly, it needs to commence building a sustainable economy.
Currently, Nigeria needs to improve gross domestic product to ease the pressure on the exchange rate. A strengthening of the Naira could help us to get back to the top. In addition, another rebasing of the economy, which is due in another 8 years, could make us the biggest economy in Africa.
Going forward, the Chief Executive Officer of ACCERS & People’s Parliament, Mrs. Morenike Babaington-Ashaye, advised that “in addition to other complementary measures, I believe the monetary authorities should lower interest rates to single-digit levels so that capital and investments can be re-directed to the appropriate sectors of the economy that can drive GDP growth.
For example, she pointed, ‘SMEs should be able to access long term capital at sustainable interest in order to thrive. The current interest rate levels cannot support business growth.
Meanwhile, fiscal authorities can support this by removing or reducing instances of double taxation for businesses, especially SMEs, whilst equally improving the ease of doing business within the economy, “ she added..
She point out that, there are other useful indicators capturing the wellbeing of citizens than growth in GDP and growth in GDP per capita.
For instance, the Director General of West Africa Institute of Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said the policy makers and leadership should deal with the present recession in Nigeria by implementing robust fiscal policy that will ensure economic recovery.
This, he said, entails spending on hard infrastructure such as power, roads, railways among others.
He added that, it also mean, “ putting in place the right policy to educe dependence on the export of rude oil and curtail the craze of Nigerians for imported goods and services; implementing an aggressive monetary policy that would reduce lending rates in order to revamp the real sector.
‘’If Nigeria economy becomes strong, modern and knowledge- based then the world would not ignore Nigeria, Singapore is not large in population and size but the achievements she has recorded over a short period make her a reference point in the calculus of development. Nigeria’s economy should at some point be a positive reference for others to cite. To be the largest economy is, therefore, not the issue,” he stated
He called Buhari lead government to begin to do the needful because Nigeria cannot keep complaining about the past.
He stressed, “Nigeria need to focus on the long-term drivers need to foster an improved and more diversified growth environment.”