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Opening and managing a restaurant business in Nigeria

Introduction: Opening a restaurant business is one of the most profitable businesses in Nigeria. This is because humans cannot go without food.

Food is an essential part of human life. And so, opening a restaurant business to provide this service to people is one of the best businesses in Nigeria because it can never go extinct.

So, if you are thinking about any business you would love to embark on, opening a restaurant business can be the very best business option for you in this scenario.

Opening and managing a restaurant business in Nigeria is highly profitable but time tasking. A good entrepreneur should always have a prior knowledge of the kind and nature of the business he or she hopes to embark on.

In this article, we are going to expound on what opening and managing a restaurant business entails, especially in a country like Nigeria where business sectors are highly competitive.

opening a restaurant business in Nigeria

opening a restaurant business in Nigeria

What is a restaurant?

A process where certain delicacies are prepared in exchange for money, usually in a specific location is what can be termed a restaurant.

A restaurant is a commercial business that takes shape in the way an entrepreneur wants it to be. What this means is that a restaurant is the clay, an entrepreneur is the Potter.

The way you mold and shape your business is exactly how it would appear. The investment you put into structuring how your restaurant looks like will only attract different categories of people to it.

Restaurants can come in macro or micro form, you can decide to go large or go minimal.

This is where the types of restaurants come into play. You can decide to do something big and expensive or something small, and both businesses when molded probably can yield the needed results.

Before you think of opening a restaurant business, there are some things that are to be taken into cognizance. There are objectives that are needed to be set out.

Some basic knowledge you as will have to acquire the different types of restaurants in Nigeria.

Principles and guidelines that need to be followed. These guidelines are going to be highlighted herein and expounded for the sole benefit of those who are planning to venture into that area.


Types of restaurants in Nigeria


Fancy Restaurants:

Eateries, as most Nigerians love to call it, are fancy restaurants that serve different delicacies ranging from local soups like Afang, Okra to foreign food like Pizza, Burgers etc.

Some are branded and well known with their branches hosted in different parts of the state.

Food Affairs, Mr. Biggs, for instance, are brands that have their branches littered across the states.

As an aspiring business person who is hoping to venture into opening restaurants of these nature, you would have to make provision for a huge capital.

Restaurants of these nature need to be groomed and nurtured consistently until they stand out.

Fancy restaurants like the aforementioned can also fetch good profits, this is because there are just not normal restaurants that ‘anyone’ can stop by to get served.

Restaurants like these are usually visited by the high class, by couples celebrating anniversaries, individuals who are ready to have a good time, etc. These categories of people are usually ready to pay a huge amount of money for quality food and service.

Buka Joints:

Buka joints popularly known as “mama put” are quite different from fancy restaurants. The difference does not lie in ‘how delicious the food taste’, but the quality of service you are given, the location and the building.

In fancy eateries, the building is usually aesthetically decorated, their servers fancily dressed and their menu beautifully crafted. Most times, the location of these eateries are usually in the beautiful and costly places in town.

But mama put is easily accessible, an average man who earns minimally can afford to pick the bill in a restaurant like this.

Students can as well foot the bills in places like this without going broke instantly. And is much different from fancy restaurants where the waitresses are fancily clad and all.

So, as an aspiring businessman/woman, you have to be sure of the type of restaurant business you are hoping to open and manage in Nigeria.

This is where you’ll be able to know how much you’re putting into the business and how much you hope your gain to be annually.



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Guidelines for opening a restaurant business in Nigeria:



Ascertain the type of eatery you want to open:

The type and nature of restaurants differ from country to country. You have to be aware of the different types of restaurants we have in Nigeria.

There is over a hundred type of restaurants you can open in the world and more so in Nigeria.

In countries such as America, the United Kingdom, France, etc. Restaurants in these countries differ from the other greatly. France, for instance, have Cafes, diners, etc.

There are restaurants that focus solely on serving breakfast, others junks, etc. Nigeria also has different types of eateries that haven’t been clearly spelled out but are very much in existence.

Sufficient Capital:

In setting up a restaurant business, your capital must be readily available, nothing tangible can be done without the availability of capital.

The amount of money you are hoping to push into your restaurant business, and without this money being within your grasp, your business plan, the location you have in mind, the plans you’ve envisaged for your business cannot be put into action.

In a nutshell, capital is what you use to kick-start your business. Capital is what propels the other factors into action.

So, before you consider starting a restaurant business, drafting out the plans you have for it, your capital should be within grasp. So that your aspirations can be quickly executed.

Have a good brand name:

We all answer to different unique names, people identify us based on the names we bear. Names make for good and easy communication and development.

Our businesses are not much different. Even media houses have names they are identified with, schools, Churches. Etc.

So, your restaurant should not go without a name, a unique name that can be easily remembered and a name that buyers can easily reckon with.

Coming up with a brand name isn’t easy at all. This is because your brand name should hold a certain appeal that can easily capture people’s attention and mustn’t be too hard to pronounce.

Loyal customers can even help advertise your restaurant by telling friends and colleagues about your business if the services you offer are excellent, and mentioning your brand name is an important factor.

So, you should come up with a smart and witty name that isn’t too informal.

In cases where you want to establish a high profile restaurant, designing a good logo is also necessary as well as your own unique business concept.

Note that your logo design should have some sort of relativity with your brand name in order to promote the aesthetic appearance of it.

Have a unique menu:

Have a popular item you are known for, delicacies that compels people to your eatery.

If you are hoping to establish an eatery where snacks only are served, then be consistent in that aspect. Do not venture into unfamiliar territories in your bid to get more buyers/customers.

Try not to serve what you know you or your employees cannot tackle.

The implication of this inconsistency is that customers tend to desert a particular eatery when they observe that they aren’t really consistent in a particular food aspect.

Or the delicacies served are not palatable. Ensure that your menu is built around relatable items. Your menu layout should be attractive and the content easy to comprehend.

The food listings contained in your menu should always be readily available. Your menu should as well be updated periodically in order to ensure that the needs of the customers are met and they are given what they desire.

In summary, if you specialties are normal food and not snacks or junks, then be consistent in that aspect, and if you are hoping to widen your scope, be sure to follow suit daily. Do not add other specialties that might be available today but not tomorrow.


Location matters a great deal, especially in cases where your restaurant operates on a micro level.

The place you choose to hoist your restaurant business should be in areas where people can have free and easy access to. You can’t open a restaurant business in an isolated area and hope to make sales.

You might make sales depending on how you’re able to sell your delicacies and even emotions to buyers.

But if you are new to the business, you should try to get a good and affordable place in the heart of town or in places where numerous people live around.

But a big eatery like McDonald’s or Mr. Biggs can establish their business anywhere because they are known brands. But as a budding entrepreneur, you should stick to what will help your business grow and not dwindle it.

Drafting a Business Plan:

Drafting out a business plan is very crucial. A business plan is a very descriptive document that outlines the goals, the principles, the guidelines that you aim to achieve whilst setting up a particular business.

A business plan is like a map that helps keep your structuring in check and is usually documented formally.

You might not necessarily go far in any business you venture into if you do not have a business plan, be it documented or not.

You have to have a clear picture of what u hope your business achieves, the level you probably want it to reach, etc.

Drafting out the plans for your restaurant business entails following few easy steps. If you do not know how to write out a business plan, then here’s a typical strategic guideline you can follow


In this section, your mission statement is clearly written out as well as the nature of your competitors. Strategies you feel can help you succeed, your own unique selling proposition can as well be penciled down in this section.

Market summary:

This is where you inquire about the market pricing in other eateries, and coming up with a plan that is uniquely yours but standardized.

Learning about the ethics and legal proceedings that accompanies the establishment and management of restaurants in Nigeria.

Financial Plan:

How can you make your restaurant sufficiently unique? Outline your goals and objectives set out the time frame you hope to nail these goals.

Break down these goals into simpler yearly or monthly goals so as to keep track of what is going well and what isn’t.


A typical Business Plan Sample

If you are still a bit confused about what a typical restaurant business plan is supposed to look like, here’s a typical sample that can give you a clear guide:

These are possible questions you would need to supply answers to.

How many staffs would I want to recruit? How much do I have to pay them???? These all depend on the type of eatery you want to establish.

Fancy restaurants as earlier described would require a lot of investments. And so you might need a lot of investors if your capital won’t cover all the expenses.

Buka joints, on the other hand, requires little capital. This is because the intricacies embedded in starting up a high profile isn’t the same as this one.


Cost for opening a fancy restaurant or fast food joint in Nigeria

Costs for opening a fancy restaurant would include:

In order to make your customers feel at ease and relaxed, you have to install good ACs. Brand new AC can he bought at the rate of 120k in Nigeria. Fairly used can be purchased at the rate of 70k.

You can get more of fans and fewer ACs if your capital isn’t heavy. There is always room for refurbishments.


You would need to buy good chairs that looks and feels comfortable and artistic too. For starting up, you can get those popular plastic chairs, about 1500 naira for one.


You also have to get kitchen utensils which are really essential.

This is what your workers would use to prepare different delicacies. You can as well contact good chefs and make inquiries about the kind of utensils that you can buy, ones that are strong and durable.

Kitchen utensils encapsulate the plates, spoons, pots, etc. And even the tune you would use to display your food.


Challenges and prospects of opening a restaurant business in Nigeria:



Restaurant businesses in Nigeria are highly competitive and most of these high profile restaurants are well known by town folks and are judiciously patronized.

In this vein, you have to come up with ways that can help you outsmart your competitors.


Making your restaurant fanciful yet affordable at the initial stage would fetch you customers. Giving out discounts as marketing strategies are also really attractive and can help you stand in the competitive market.


Recruitment and Staffing:

Recruiting staffs can be a very tedious task and one that needs total objectivity. Bringing in sentiment into your business can cause the downfall of that business.

Recruiting staffs who know next to nothing about waitressing can hinder the progress of a restaurant business.

That is why it is necessary to recruit staffs who have had some sort of experience in the field.


This has to do with expenditures like your worker’s monthly or weekly wages, leasing for the building which is needed to be either paid yearly or monthly and other unplanned expenses that pop up in the business.

As a budding restaurant owner and an entrepreneur, you have to keep an open mind towards this issues be sure that a certain amount of money is kept aside either as miscellaneous for such unplanned issues.


This factor is usually sometimes uncontrollable. But having workers who are loyal to your business can help curb theft in your company.

Prospect: Installing CCTV in your restaurant can also be a means of controlling theft.


Factors that determine the smooth running of a restaurant business in Nigeria


Offer quality Service:

This factor is a major factor that determines the success of your business.

I’ve seen cases where customers got food poisoning all because they were given food that was no longer edible and had paid a good sum of money for it.

Try not to undermine the quality of service you render to customers because of your personal gains. A spoilt food, for instance, should be thrown away and not be served to customers.

Doing away with spoilt food might possibly mean that you lose money, but it is even much better than you lose money than for you to lose customers and even your license.

Creatively Market your restaurant business:

You can help create awareness for your restaurant business making fliers, hoisting your restaurant picture on billboards.

You can as well advertise your business on social platforms and even on radio or television. This would make individuals become more aware of your restaurant and the services you offer.

Get to know your employees:

This is also an important factor that gauges the success or failure of your restaurant business in Nigeria.

Get to know your employees.

Study their interaction with customers. Outline rules and ethics they need to adhere to. Make them understand that the needs of the customers come first. Your business lies solely in the hands of the buyer/customers.

If your eatery or fast food is known to be one where the servers are usually rude, customers and potential buyers would be discouraged from patronizing you.

This isn’t what you want for your business, the moment you begin to lose customers, it means you lose money.

Hence, enforce discipline where necessary, make them aware that you are the boss. Give instructions and make sure it is followed.

Do not bring sentiments into your business, because that is one factor that weakens businesses.

Create a name:

Be known for something good. Take care of your environment both internally and externally.

Be identified for something good. Do not be known for something bad, do not allow a particularly bad habit to stand out as a sore thumb in your business.

Strikeout bad employees who might possibly dent the image of your company.

Be passionate about your business:

Have a genuine passion for what you do. Selling food to customers transcends beyond the stomach.

The manner you serve them, your body language and even your mood communicate a whole lot.

This is because you are not just selling food but emotion, and the type of emotions you showcase is absolutely vital.

Communicate happiness, joy, and love, this would not only fetch you buyers but loyal customers who would not fail to patronize you continuously.

Hard work and dedication:

Be hard working and relentless. Even when things seem not to go the way you planned, do not give or withdraw.

Try to come up with new ways you can tackle trivial issues in your business. Do not leave everything at the mercy of your employees, get involved in the activities that take place in your restaurant.

Show dedication so that your employees would not be like warm.



Managing a restaurant business in Nigeria requires discipline and is painstaking and time-consuming. One has to persevere in order to emerge successfully.

Do not give room to discouragement or doubt. With a reasonable capital at your disposal, and the guidelines discussed here at your fingertips, you stand a very great chance of making waves in your restaurant business here in Nigeria.


Author; Edikan Inyang

Posted by on August 15, 2018.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Business, JOBS & OPPORTUNITIES

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