[Pro Tips On] How to Start A Restaurant Business In Nigeria

Oasdom How to start a restaurant business in Nigeria
Oasdom How to start a restaurant business in Nigeria

They say some traditions never die, so are some businesses including Restaurant business in Nigeria.

Delicious meals is what every one desire early in the morning or during the day after long hours of work. But the time to prepare these meals?

The exchange of cooked food for some sort of payment or valuables in the ancient times birthed the business that has spanned out to earn consideration as something profitable to venture into.


The middle ages saw the first block laid into the foundation of the roadside inn to its roofing and furnishings. Gradually, people came in and ate whatever was cooked by the chef and paid.

Farmers travelling to far distances to sell their produce do get hungry on the road and are grateful to see an inn they can get cooked food from.

Although the chef dictates the menu but shey hunger dey get choice?

restaurant business idea in nigeria

The roadside inns became rooted firmly on the streets alongside food stalls that sold ‘junk foods’.

In the 17th century, civilization had gone up more than a notch and interestingly, you had to be in a specific guild to sell what is exclusive to that guild.

These monopolies in the market were backed by laws but laws, they say, are made to be broken.

Fortunately, a major event that would forever remain on the pages of history happened in 1765 when Chef A. Boulanger, in all defiance, sold soup containing cooked lamb.

Did you know that the oldest restaurant is Sobrino De Botin Restaurant and is located in Madrid, Spain?

Man in front of oldest restaurant in the world - sobrino de botin

Unfortunately for the guilds, he won the lawsuit and so the scissors clamped firmly on the monopoly thread leaving room for diversities with creativities imbibed in every twist.

Then the French revolution happened and it would seem monarchical ways were being swept under the rug as the guilds were completely dissolved rendering a substantial number unemployed.

Quite familiar with food and money, these unemployed opened their own restaurants with their innovative ideas but with no intention of starting a restaurant business in Nigeria.

Did you know that culinary arts is a course in some universities?

Two decades later, Antoine Beavillers founded the first ‘elegant’ restaurant, La Grande Taverne De Londres, in 1786.

It was a different game with waiters serving customers at the tables with better food and wine.

Did you know that the world largest restaurant is Bawabet Dimashq Restaurant – Damascus Gayte Restaurant and is located in Damascus, Syria

With all the historical information, the first question on the lips of someone about to start a restaurant business in Nigeria is…  

What Is Restaurant Business In Nigeria?

The standard definition of a restaurant business does not exclude food and money, although its description can vary depending on the variants either ‘take-out’, ‘eat-in’ or ‘food delivery’ services.

Talk about starting a business in Nigeria and you’ll see people suggesting a mama put, canteen, or restaurant business.

The restaurant business in Nigeria has been from the beginning of Nigeria and is getting to live longer than a dragon.

Basically, restaurant business in Nigeria entails the sale of well-prepared cooked food in an attractive plate at a well-ventilated appropriate furnished area void of dirt.

The restaurant business in Nigeria plays out with customers coming in to eat and paying for the food eaten.

Sounds simple, right? But truth be told, the restaurant business in Nigeria goes beyond that.

Here, the question go buzzing in the brain. What else is involved in starting a restaurant business in Nigeria? E pass selling food to the customer make e pay? Yes o, e pass am.

Let me tell you about…

Feasibility Study On Restaurant Business

We say something is feasible when it is practical or possible. The chambers dictionary defines the noun ‘feasibility study’ as an ‘investigation to determine whether a part project, system, etc. is desirable, practicable.’

This simply implies gaining adequate knowledge or carrying out enough findings to know if a business will succeed before starting or venturing in to it.

Feasibility study on restaurant business in Nigeria involves getting enough accurate information on all areas of the business to know if the restaurant business will make profit in Nigeria.

While a feasibility study might sound like a business plan, the former is not the same as the latter. Read more about the feasibility study on restaurant business for more details.

The Difference Between Starting A Restaurant And Starting A Buka Joint In Nigeria

Growing up when mama did not cook due to reasons I really cannot remember, buying #20 rice, #10 beans, and #20 meat from Sisi mi was so convenient, and her food was so delicious that we requested for it on some days.

Now, there was aunty Latifat’s shop that was a bit upgraded in its setting to Sisi mi joint but omo, food dey higher for there.

She no dey do customer dada for us o, so you know say no be #50 meal you go buy belle full.

Then we rated aunty Lati’s place for rich people (restaurant) and Sisi mi’s joint for our level (buka joint).

One would think there was a difference between the two places that attended to different people with different behavioural patterns.

You begin to wonder why didn’t Sisi mi upgrade to aunty Lati’s level, and now I’m wondering why aunty Lati herself did not upgrade to mama cass or even Sheraton level.

The truth is there is a difference between starting a buka joint and starting a restaurant business in Nigeria. How? Where?

A buka joint serves popular local meals especially swallows, and has its signature of the vicinity area around it.

It is mostly characterized by wooden structure. You find some where the customers get their food at the table.

mama put fast food business in nigeria

I’m sure you remember the story of Oliver Twist and others where the customers get served with seldom shout of order for their food but trust me, not all are actually like this.

Some advanced buka joint have a woman by the pot of soup or at the entrance of the joint with a plastic bucket or cloth purse to handle money transactions with customers.

Some buka joints have electric fans because of the large inflow of customers and some disorderliness. Those electric fans are almost unnoticeable.

Buka joint serve meals that are appealing to the taste buds and this is evident in the number of customers received daily.

There is this originality about buka joint that paints the vivid picture of the area. If you’re the buka type, I’m sure you won’t have a food time table (*wink)

Now, let’s talk about restaurants..

A Restaurant is posh and has a more serene atmosphere than the buka joint.

You sit in a restaurant and say you are receiving fresh air because the breeze is blowing in a more orderly manner with no head or broad shoulder or sweat smell or fart doses blocking it.

what is the cost to start a restaurant business in nigeria

The food here is also appealing and has more finesse but the authenticity of restaurant is not as high as buka, maybe because person too dey see the setting for white films…lol.

The difference? The cost of starting a restaurant business in Nigeria is higher than starting a buka joint; we talking more expensive seats as compared to the wooden benches, etc.

The menu of a restaurant is different than that of buka joint, where mouth is used to list the menu.

For someone with little capital, it is better to start a buka joint but with moderate to high capital, nothing is stopping one from starting a restaurant business in Nigeria if one knows the next vital detail, which is…

What Is The Cost of Restaurant Business In Nigeria

The first law of any investment is investigation.

Knowing the cost of a business including restaurant business in Nigeria is a vital step in setting up that business.

Some say the cost of restaurant business in Nigeria range from #100, 000 to #700, 000, others say it could be more as restaurant business in Nigeria is no joke.

The actual cost of restaurant business in Nigeria varies depending on what concept your restaurant is about.

Irrespective of how big or little you want to go, the actual cost of that restaurant business in Nigeria is still not known until a feasibility study is carried out.

When calculating the cost of a restaurant business in Nigeria, here are some points to note:

  • Location.
  • Furnishings.
  • Necessary equipment needed.
  • Food materials supply
  • Employees and more.

IMPORTANT: Read more about cost and setup in this restaurant feasibility study

Steps On How to Start Mama Put Business In Nigeria

The restaurant business in Nigeria is one of the hot business ideas that guarantees cool cash.

Still, you shouldn’t be surprised that when a restaurant is not properly set up, it could fold up within a year, incurring more losses and debts than initial stage.

how to start a eatery business in nigeria

Before starting a profitable restaurant business in Nigeria, there are some steps that have been followed by successful predecessors and sticking to them will yield exact success.

You do not just wake up one morning and cook then go to the roadside, place a placard saying buka and think that is how to set up a buka.

The following are steps on setting up a buka in Nigeria:

1. Knowledge

Getting adequate knowledge of a business before venturing in to it cannot be overemphasized.

It is pure foolishness to walk into something blind. Going on an adventure still requires gaining knowledge on some things like survival lessons, etc.

First thing to do when you want to start a buka in Nigeria is to obtain enough information on food business.

“Knowledge does not necessarily mean power, the application of knowledge is”

While most can cook to a different extent, not all can make a business where they work – the kitchen. However, finding information on how to cook from successful food lovers is part of the knowledge one should seek.

It would not be such a bad idea to intern or learn for some time to see how things are run, let us call it ‘field training’.

2. Brand Name

Creating a brand identity is important for any business. You need to get a suitable name for your buka/restaurant.

3. Feasibility study/Business plan

‘In the journey of a successful business, speed is not as important as direction.’

A good business plan is the solid foundation upon which a successful buka or restaurant can be built on, else it comes crashing down.

Especially, if you plan on getting a loan from a micro finance institution or the bank, you must conduct a feasibility study or a business plan to know the exact amount needed to set up the business.

4. Location

This is an important subject to be discussed when starting a restaurant business in Nigeria, even a buka. Whatever location to be chosen, ensure it is close to your target market.

Industrial areas have more target customers than residential areas that can patronize you.

It must be tidy, if not so spacious, properly ventilated, and appearance matters no matter how local it is looking.

It is advisable to always have a plan B, an alternate location should be considered in case plan A does not pull through.

5. Capital

Now you know the cost to set up a food business if you’ve gone through the feasibility study above, but how do we gather capital (the money used to start a business)?

All fingers are not equal and while some can raise the capital from their savings account, others go for loans or seek financial help from a good Samaritan.

If you’re just starting out, when it comes to loans, you should check out these 5 lessons to succeed in your first year of business.

6. Equipment

For someone starting a buka business, the following are non-negotiable:

  • Charcoal, wood, kerosene or gas stove.
  • Kitchen utensils such as pots, spoons, plates, etc.
  • Furniture, either wooden or plastic.
  • Employees (optional).
  • Food ingredients.

Now that buka is good to go with good customer service, advertisement and promotion are the next vital things to do.

Restaurant Business In Nigeria (Summary)

Food business, in general, is a sector that has many profitable branches. It is no longer news that one of the basic needs of man include food and this is unarguably true.

 Starting a restaurant business in Nigeria is wise, although one needs to do it right else, the business that has been said to have stood the test of time will play the opposite tune in your ears.

The food business has seen many generations and will see more. It is one of the businesses that are not affected by climatic or economic situations.

Oh! One more thing, if you share something similar with the koala as in you sleep like someone practicing death…come closer, I have something special for you:

Do not venture into the restaurant business in Nigeria o except you are willing to have a restaurant manager.

Did you find this post informative and engaging? I’d really appreciate it if you give it a like and share. Also, I await your wonderful comments!