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How to Start A Fast Food Restaurant Business : 

Among the basic needs of man, food is the most craved for. So, no matter how good or bad the global economy is,today you will learn how to start a fast food restaurant business,  it doesn't make any difference when it comes to people eating.

That’s why fast food restaurants business remains lucrative no matter how many we have out there. People must eat, no matter what. Eating does not put a major dent on our disposable income.

With the food industry growing at an average rate of 13- 17% in majority of the countries, this business turns out to be one of those businesses which runs and outlasts any bad economic condition.

If you are looking to start a fast food restaurant then you can start it without any major hesitancy and to help you out we have provided this book and mentioned a few basic steps to follow which should prove beneficiary.

We've done our best in this book to provide a guideline for those who want to start a fast food business. However, you need to know that the services of a consultant/lawyer/bank may still be needed. Treat this book as a guideline and not the only thing you need.

DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO START A FAST FOOD BUSINESS? 

Study says that 95% of new businesses close up within the first five years. I guess this study is even based on the western world. If you are in Africa, where there are more challenges, it should be 98%. In Cameroon, where we are for example, it should be 99.9%.

What this means is that the business world is very tough. To get it right and position yourself and your business to be among the few that succeeds, certain elements have to be in your foundation and operation.

One of those basic elements that are needed for you to succeed in fast food business is being called into it. By that I mean, having a strong passion and drive towards it.

Yes. The fast food business is very profitable. But not everyone succeeds in it. The profitability of an enterprise depends on the driver of the business. You must have a passion for food and hospitality to build a successful business out of it.

That other people are into it should not be your driver. Your diver should be your passion. What flaws do you see with other fast food business any time you visit? What improvements are you always wishing were done? What features have you seen in other fast food elsewhere, that you wish was in your own area?

These are certain gauges of passion. This is what will keep you going when you encounter tough times, bad staff and all kinds of setbacks.

I would like to believe that by reading this book, you do have some kind of interest in the fast food business. I’d like to say that you are in for some great experience. Who knows, you might build the next KFC or McDonald franchise or something even better.

I believe you will succeed.

What about you, what do you believe?

TWO WAYS TO GET INTO THE FAST FOOD BUSINESS. 

There are two ways for you to get  into the fast food business.

Buy into a franchise : 

Start from the scratch and build your business
These two methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Let us take a few spaces here to discuss them. fast food

What is fast food franchise? 

A fast food chain or franchise is a set of related restaurants with the same name in many different locations that are either under shared corporate ownership or franchising agreements. Typically, the restaurants within a chain are built to a standard format (through architectural prototype development) and offer a standard menu.

For example, McDonald, KFC, Mr. Biggs, etc. are all franchises. Investors or entrepreneurs build their own businesses using these established names and leveraging on the brand popularity already.

This could be the easiest way to get into the fast food business. All one has to do is sit down and do some math and decide on a brand name to buy into and you are in business.

Is a Restaurant Franchise the Right Choice for You?
 Restaurant franchises have several benefits over independent restaurants. However, they also have several drawbacks. To help you decide if a restaurant franchise is the right choice for you, here are the pros and cons.

The Pros. 

Instant Business-A restaurant franchise offers you an instant business. You don’t have to worry about the name, the deé cor, the menu or the marketing. It’s all done for.
Support– A restaurant franchise comes with support from the head office. If you have questions or concerns, you can ask This can be very helpful for new restaurant owners, who don’t always know what to do when they encounter certain problems.
Better Buying Power– Restaurant franchises have bigger buying Food and other inventory can be purchased far cheaper than your local independent restaurant.
Name Recognition– Name recognition is a huge benefit of a restaurant franchise. You don’t have to worry about start-up costs for

The Cons. 

Money– Money (or lack of it) is major drawback of buying a restaurant franchise. Many of the bigger restaurant chains require at least a few hundred thousand dollars in assets, before they will consider letting you buy into their Of course, the theory is that you will make all your initial investment money back sooner than if you started an independent restaurant.
Lack of Creative Freedom– You have no say in the menu, the deé cor, or the signage of your restaurant. If you have a certain theme or concept in mind, it may not mesh with a restaurant franchise. You will need to get approval for any menu ideas you have.
Lots of Rules– In order to maintain a certain quality of customer service, as well as continuity at each location, franchises have many rules and regulations that must be followed. Everything from the seating plan of the dining room, to the color of the restrooms can be subject to specific rules. Make sure you are okay with all the rules beforehand. Failure to follow the rules can result in losing your franchise rights (and all your money and hard work!).
Royalties– On top of paying for the rights to a restaurant franchise, you are also expected to pay royalties. This covers the advertising, menu flyers, and other support the restaurant corporation gives you throughout the year. Make sure to add franchise fees into your budget.
Essentially, deciding to either buy a restaurant franchise or create an independent restaurant will depend on your wallet and your personality. If you are comfortable working with a team and being told what and how to do something, a franchise may be the right move for you. However, if you are starting your own restaurant to get away from people telling you what to do, an independent is probably a better choice for you.

How to Buy a Restaurant Franchise.

 For many would be restaurateurs, a franchise presents the perfect opportunity to open their own restaurant. There are a lot of benefits of restaurant franchises, such as instant name recognition and built in marketing.

However, buying a restaurant franchise is not always as easy (or as cheap) as one might think. Here is a step-by-step guide to finding and buying a restaurant franchise.

1.  Understand What Defines a Restaurant as a Franchise
Mr. Biggs is a restaurant franchise. Owners, called franchisees, purchase the rights to open and operate Mr. Biggs outlets. As part of the deal, the franchisee pays royalties to the head office, called a Franchisor. In return, the franchisonr takes care of marketing, menu design and problem solving for all its franchisees.

2.  Consider Which Type of Restaurant Franchise is Best for Your Local Market
Restaurant franchises include fast food (think McDonalds, Taco Bell and KFC) and fast casual (think Mr. Biggs, Sweet Sensation, Applebees, Chilis Grill & Bar) as well as smaller chains, like Cold Stone Creamery.

Before pursuing any restaurant franchise, first find out if it will fill a market niche. This means doing a study of the local competition as well as a profile of the local economy. For example, if the area already has several Chinese restaurants, investing in a franchise of a Chinese focused restaurant may not be the best idea.

3.  Examine Your Budget and Restaurant Qualifications

Restaurant franchises are expensive ventures. Cost more than anything else will limit your choices when it comes to buying a restaurant franchise.

Experience is another important factor in opening a restaurant franchise. Parent companies (franchisors) don’t hand out the keys to a franchise unit to just anyone. Consider the following:

Many restaurant chains list franchise requirements right on their website. www.foodfranchise.com is an online company that also lists current franchise opportunities for sale, especially as it relates to the western world

4.  Create a Restaurant Business Plan

A restaurant business plan, which you need for bank or investor financing, will help fill in any gaps in your restaurant franchise concept. It will force you to examine things like the population base of an area, profiles of the local economy and choices of location. As part of writing a restaurant business plan for a franchise you will need to investigate the franchise’s history and current financial status. This is especially important if you are investing in a new restaurant franchise.

5.  Go over a Restaurant Franchise Contract with a Lawyer
Once you get through the initial process of being approved for a restaurant franchise and secure your financing, you will sign a lengthy contract with the franchisor. Review the contract with a fine tooth comb before signing on the dotted line.

Most importantly, know what can happen if the franchise fails. Are you locked into paying the franchisor a set amount of money each month or year, regardless of success? Who owns the equipment? Will you get any of your investment money back? Don’t assume that because it is a chain it will be an instant success. It still takes hard work and patience.

STARTING A FAST FOOD BUSINESS FROM SCRATCH.

I have seen fast food businesses in very nice locations that failed woefully. I have also seen those in not very good locations that are making serious success. When I investigate the reasons, I find out several ideas to share.

Starting a restaurant (fast food) is a hugely popular entrepreneurial dream, but it requires more than dreaming to make it a reality. The restaurant business in notoriously tough. If you are not going to buy into a franchise, then here are some tips that can help entrepreneurs start, operate and grow their fast food or take-out business successfully and within the law.

Research, Research, Research.
Because the fast food business is so competitive, it’s vital that you do your research. Start by talking to people who have done this business. Attend Business networking events and ask as much questions as you could.

Try to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be done differently. If you are aware of restaurants that have failed, try to identify why

Knowing what works and what doesn’t will help you to define your target market and the niche opportunity that you can justifiably build a strong business case for going after. Whether it’s specializing in hot dogs or freshly made cupcakes or local kitchen – focus on providing a unique and quality product – don’t try to be all things to all people.

Above all, take your time. Try to objectively determine what price points your customers will tolerate. What is the competition? Do the local demographics support your venture (now and in the future)?

Likewise, research potential locations. While city locations may attract walk-in traffic, many suburban locations offer a higher concentration of lucrative “family-oriented” fast-food opportunities.

Build a Business Plan.
A business plan doesn’t have to be an overly formalized document, but going through the process of building and constantly tweaking your plan will help you match the strengths of your business to the opportunities the market presents.  It can also help you better deal with threats as they emerge.

A business plan is also essential when it comes to communicating with others

– such as customers, partners, and investors – if you want any of these to believe in you, you must be able to convince them that you know what you are talking about when it comes to your business.

A full section of this book is dedicated to business plan for fast food business.

Seeking Investment :
Not all businesses need investors to get started, particularly if you start small. However, there are a range of options from very small microloans that can help smaller fast food outlets get started, to more comprehensive small business loans.

If you are seeking investment, plan it out. Use your business plan as the basis of a loan proposal or investment plan. Investors and lenders will want to know everything about your business idea or venture. Also, be realistic about how much money you need.  You can save lots of capital just by buying local produce and purchasing surplus equipment.

Here in Africa, it is very difficult to access business loans but not impossible. If you have a feasible business plan there are actually more opportunities for you to get startup financing.

A section of this book is also dedicated to sourcing finance.

Consider Starting Small
You may dream of building the next McDonald or KFC, a top notch kitchen, but starting small can often be the best first step into fast food restaurant ownership. Not only will it give you a view of the basic fundamentals that apply to the business, but it also requires less capital and therefore less risk.

You will read more about this in the case study section.

Regulatory Steps Involved in Starting a Business
Whatever your business type, you must take care of the fundamental regulatory and legal steps involved in starting a business. Usually a lawyer will assist you with all the regulatory agencies and their procedures and rules.

Understanding and achieving compliance with legal and regulatory requirements can have a big effect on the success of a restaurant operation. Don’t underplay this as it could drastically affect your business in the future.

Chose a Very unique  Name
The name of your fast food can actually impact its perception in users’ minds. How does names like these sound, McDonald, KFC, Sweet Sensation, Tantalizer, Mr. Biggs, etc? You can do better.

MITIGATING CHALLENGES IN THE FAST FOOD BUSINESS.
Every business has its own different kinds of challenges. Being aware of the kind of challenges you may be facing will enable you to have the right psychology to handle them.

Also, the kind of environment where you are doing business will also influence the kind of challenges you will face. For example, while a business been run the US may not face much power problem, here in Africa (Nigeria for that matter), power is a big challenge.

Here I have listed the kinds of challenges you may face in the fast food business. Prepare your mind beforehand and work out possible solutions ahead of time. Don’t be taken by surprise when they surface at one time or the other.

The Threat of Law Suits:
From time to time, you may face law suits. They could come from anywhere, from those offended at your success, to those offended at your mistakes.

Law suits can also come from institutions waging the nutritional war. Though this is not yet common in Africa, but don’t rule it out in your expectations as we are developing day by day.

So it’s a great idea to build a good relationship with powerful lawyers from the onset. I can assure you that you will face legal issues at one time or the other, don’t wait until then before you begin to chase after lawyers. Also, endeavor to sign every agreement or document with the help of a lawyer

Inconsistent Government Policies:
Government inconsistency is really a challenge you will have to tackle if you must succeed as an entrepreneur. Governance is something entrepreneurs have no control over; most entrepreneurs can do is to influence government’s

policy with respect to enacting favorable business laws. But you must have political clout and massive resources to be able to influence government laws.

Now you may not have the political clout or financial muscle to influence government’s policy so the best strategy to combating the ever changing policy of the government is to keep a keen eye on government laws and swiftly adjust your business to align with the policies.

Inability to access funds:
It’s very difficult to access funds for business startup in Cameroon and Africa. Though we get to hear about all manner of funds set aside for all manner of purposes, but it seems that the same set of people who set it up are the ones who get it.

If you will be relying on banks funding for startup or expansion, know it ahead of time that you may face many failures. Just make up your mind that nothing will stop you.

Lack of Governmental Support:
Another challenge of doing business here is government’s insensitivity to the plight of entrepreneurs and small business owners. The result of these insensitivity surfaces in the form of double taxation, unnecessary levies and duties; and high cost of obtaining business licenses.In fact, apart from the levies and all manner of fees you will pay and continue to pay which is receipted; many locals will from time to time want to be paid some fees.

While I have always condemned this you must also be aware that we operate one of the best free economies in the world, which favors capitalists, so I don’t think you should be discouraged by this challenge.

A good strategy to balance the excesses of the government and deal with the locals (agberos and co) is to assemble a strong business team and build government contacts that will strategically position your business to withstand the ever increasing demands of the government and the locals.

Lack of Infrastructure:
We lack the basic infrastructure and logistics to support entrepreneurship. If you are going to run a successful business in Nigeria; then you must have the financial muscle to provide your own infrastructure. Too bad, but then there’s nothing you can do about that for now.

So in your business plan, be sure to include every single facility you may need to run your business, including even water supply.

Poor Power Supply:
Poor power supply is the next challenge militating against the successful growth of business startups in Africa. Successful companies operating in Nigeria has found a way to deal with the challenge of power supply by providing their own power.

Inadequate Security:
Security is the next challenge you must deal with especially if you are a foreigner wanting to invest in building a business here or you are coming back from a foreign country to start a business. While I commend the fact that there has been a massive step up by the government with respect to security, I will also inform you that you need to plan to provide your own security in running your business.

Transportation Challenges:
Bringing in of raw materials and sometimes delivering of finished goods will all require vehicular movements or transportation in simple terms.Due to poor road network this could pose a great challenge. Put this in your budget and so as you plan to provide your own transportation, know the kind of vehicles to purchase.

Pilfering:
Dishonest staff, pilfering (employee theft) is another issue common in the business world, especially in this kind of business. Analysis say that one in three business failures is due to employee theft and nearly 80 percent of workers admit they have or would consider stealing from their employers.

Unfortunately, many businesses remain unaware of workplace theft until it’s too late.

Click Here to Read 5 Encouraging inspiration and Bible verse to get yo through hard times

In conclusion, those are challenges I see you will face. There are many I have not stated. The fact is challenges abound, but be prepared in advance because he who is prepared has half won the battle.

HOW TO ACHIEVE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE FAST FOOD BUSINESS.
urger King Corporation (BKC) is the world’s second largest fast-food hamburger chain, trailing only McDonald’s. Referring to Burger King Website, it shows that over 11 million customers visit their restaurants

worldwide each day and over 2.4 billion of its burgers are sold each year across the global. How are they able to achieve it? What are the reasons?

In order to achieve competitive advantages in the fast-food industry, Burger King Corporation had put many efforts in their strategies in the past 50 years.  I am listing here a few strategies I believe enabled Burger King to come to where they are at the moment. I believe your fast food business will become more successful with these ideas.

Branding
 Whether you own a fine dining restaurant or a fast food establishment, your restaurant will have a competitive advantage if customers understand who you are and what kind of food you provide. If you are opening a fast food restaurant, develop a thorough understanding of your specialty and the type of customer you want to attract. Target your marketing efforts to reach these core customers. For example, if you specialize in local, sustainable food, consider a cross marketing campaign with your neighborhood farmers’ market.

Customer Service
 Because eating is such a personal experience, excellent customer service is vital for a restaurant to gain a competitive advantage. Treat all customers graciously and warmly, and get to know regulars by name. Ask your customers for feedback and show that you care about their responses by implementing changes based on the information you receive. Take complaints seriously and work to satisfy displeased customers in the short term while taking steps to avoid similar complaints in the long term.

Location
 Location is often a vital element in a restaurant’s success. Choosing the right location at the outset can give your restaurant a competitive advantage from the beginning. Make sure the neighborhood where you open your restaurant is appropriate for the type of clientele you intent to attract. If you’re opening a high end restaurant, you’ll improve your chances of success if you locate it in an upper income neighborhood. A restaurant should also have plenty of on or off street parking or be located in an area with ample foot traffic.

Quality and Consistency. 
Burger King has good quality products because they take precautions to ensure that their food is safe and that the procedures they have in place for food preparation are rigorous and consistently followed. From raw materials and ingredient selection and handling, shipping and transportation, to how they serve food in restaurants, every step on the production path to delivering fresh and delicious meals to the guests around the world is held to the highest of standards. Based on five main aspects and other methods, the quality of Burger King’s products is efficiently under controlled and managed.

No matter how good your location and your marketing efforts, customers won’t come to your restaurant if they don’t enjoy your food. Your restaurant can gain a competitive advantage by paying close attention to quality and providing a consistent product that will make customers eager to return.

Hire the right managers for your kitchen to ensure quality control of your ingredients, recipes and dishes. It is important to have hands-on managers who oversee all aspects of the kitchen; from the way raw food is stored to how chefs execute the dishes. Consistent high quality also attracts reviews and media attention, which provide invaluable exposure.

Food Freshness.
Freshness is one of their main criteria to achieve high quality foods. BKC sets up a new concept called ‘Made fresh only for you’ to ensure every customer gets the freshest product possible. Their products are made fresh for every customer’s order, unlike other fast-food restaurants, theirs are made for stock.

This gives the customer a better chance of getting a fresh meal which leads them to have good quality foods.

Restaurant Level food Safety.
Burger King Restaurants operate under HACCP principles. Its procedures are posted on operations manual and made directly available to employees so that the consistency can be obtained. It is important for you to run your fast food following sound safety rules. You must regularly update your employees with the rules of food safety.

Training. 
Training programs can result in significant effects in the quality. BKC has a Kitchen Practice procedure to maintain the highest product quality standards, and to ensure the nutritional improvements they are making in core ingredients are not undermined by any uncertainties happens in the kitchen. They train their staff using the same processes every time through Seed Training programme, where each member of restaurant staff is trained in new product ingredients, builds and presentation.

You must provide quality training for your staff to enable them align with the vision and mission of the company.

A restaurant can gain a competitive advantage by either building an appreciative following that is passionate about a particular style or a quality of food, or by offering basic sustenance in a way that is especially convenient or affordable. Regardless of whether your restaurant offers fancy or staple fare, it is important to keep in mind that tastes in food are highly individual and customers connect emotionally with food and eating establishments.

CASE STUDIES
In the following pages, we have presented two case studies in the fast food business. These are not the most famous names in the business in Nigeria. But their startup, growth and survival is very inspiring that we have decided to use them as case studies. I believe you will pick great nuggets from these fast food chains and be motivated to succeed with your fast food idea

TANTALIZERS.
tantalizers -3
Tantalizer is one of the fastest growing fast food chains in Nigeria. With over 30 outlets, this business is poised to go places, no thanks to the husband and wife, Folu and Bose Ayeni, who dared to make their dreams a reality despite the odds.

As at 2008, Tantalizer was worth over N4 Billion (about $25 million) yet in 1997 when they produced the blueprint for their business, raising the start-up capital of N2.5 million(about $15,000) seemed a wishful thought, going by the reputation of Nigerian banks in giving loans to business start ups.

At the beginning, when they took their proposal to their bankers, their bankers told them they did not finance such businesses. They never gave up hope. They persisted until the then Prudent Bank (now Afriland first  Bank) decided to take a chance on their dreams. This paid off handsomely.

Today, Tantalizers has more than 30 outlets nation-wide and are now looking beyond Cameroon ,Nigeria with plans to expand to the West Coast, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Raising capital for business has been a challenge for entrepreneurs since ages. If your plans are actually done properly, you will eventually come across funding. Don’t be discouraged in the midst of initial disappointments.

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The husband and wife team run Tantalizers, which is now listed in the Nigerian Stock market as a public limited liability company. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and arm of the World Bank in February 2010 granted $7Million in loans and took $1.5Million equity in Tantalizers to help take the company to the next level. This will be used to upgrade about 15 outlets and build more new outlets.

From looking for a N2.5million (about $15,000) start up capital in 1997, the husband and wife team has grown a company which has become a national brand and institution in Nigeria and Africa

Let Mr. Ayeni Tell the Tantalizer Story… Watch Out for Success Hints.

Now Mr. Ayeni

The Idea
“My grandma sold rice, my mum sold rice, and I also do because my teacher advised me to stick to family business…”

“In my final year in the business school, there was this lecturer some of us asked what kind of business to go into after graduation.

“Because we had this fantastic MBA certificate, he looked at us and smiled, saying…

‘If you are not Bill Gates, if you have not invented something that you can patent immediately, I will advise you to go into a business that your mother or father did successfully…

‘Now apply your newly acquired knowledge from the MBA class and make it a better business…’

That is why today I am selling rice and beans. My mother sold rice, my grand mother sold rice and so I am selling rice…

When we started Tantalizers, we invested N2.5 million and information at my disposal from our auditors is that our gross profit is about N4 billion for the financial year which will be published in few weeks time, but how much did we invest in the business when we started?

It is usual for SMEs to blame the infrastructure, the lack of knowledge on feasibility study, the banks and a host of other things considered to be limitations.

I have seen a lot of Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs) go down with wonderful ideas, just because of the short sight limitations. Limitations of finance, collateral etc. and what I want to tell such people is that: You don’t win a lottery by wishing, you win lottery by first buying the ticket, like every other person that is expecting a win. You might or might not win but the first step is to buy the ticket.

Tantalizers’ Experience. 
The Tantalizers’ experience is real because I went through the mill. What I am going to say is not something I got from one SME bookshelf, but practical life experience. The summary of it all is that we survived by the grace of God. It was not everything I know now that I knew then. If I had known half of what I know now things would have been much easier.

Go and start, don’t talk about finance, start first and everything starts with an idea. Money in most cases follows good idea and that is the reason you must start first. Don’t wait until you are sure of a loan without collateral. If you are waiting for that you may never start anything.

Selecting Business 
Look into your environment, look at what you can do that is very good, a lot of people choose a line of business just because they saw somebody succeeding in that line of business and they join the fray without knowing what actually is going on in the business.

You see somebody establish business and you don’t know if it is financed with money from 419 deals, you also open a similar business. The objective is not to make profit but to launder money, so you must first know and understand the business you want to start.

Do an objective appraisal of the business and know if is it easy to start the business, and extent of capital needed. I know someone who wanted to start a consultancy outfit, he came to Victoria Island to hire an apartment and furnished it to taste without a single client, and six months later he was bankrupt because he had no single client to call a customer. He could not get a single consultancy job to do and all his investment went down the drain.

He failed because before the business started he had a bloated overhead which the business cannot sustain. As an entrepreneur, start small and don’t build unnecessary overhead into your budget. Allow one person to play several roles.

When we started my wife was the managing director and the production manager. She wakes up about 5am to go to Mile 12 to buy tomatoes and other raw materials. She will be back in Festac before 8 am, then we will prepare the meal, get to the cash point and by 9 pm she will do the account. Those days we made about N11, 000 ($60) everyday.

Subsequently, we started putting in structures though crude and rudimentary.

Plan Growth. 
If you are successful in one outlet then you must build another, but look before you leap. That you are successful in one area does not translate to automatic success in another area, so there is need to plan for what you are going to do. This is where wisdom is necessary.

If you are opening business in a new location you must look at the business environment from the angle of your strength and weakness there. If your weakness outweighs your strength and you must be there, then you must strategies on how to penetrate the market or you may run into problem.

Buy Expertise. 
You can’t know everything or do everything. You cannot do the job of four persons. The major problem of the SME is keeping proper account books. We clocked 10 last year and it is still one of our problems. We get accounting software and people don’t still know how to use it; rudimentary bookkeeping for some SMEs is not there.

All they do is sell some and consume some of the product they sell and there is no way you can break even like that. Start the business and put yourself on a salary from the out set. Separate your finances from the finances of the business.

Checking Fraud 
You have to lead from the front. If you don’t want your workers to steal from you as the owner of the business, don’t steal from yourself. Do you know that some people steal from their own company?

It is simple. When you ask your procurement manager to inflate the cost of importing your products and at the end of the day your staffers decided to sell part of the product because it’s not moving and you are annoyed, why are you annoyed, you have already stolen, so if others are stealing they are just following your example. Once you lead from the front then you would have succeeded in establishing a culture and the culture will transcend the whole organization.

SWEET SENSATION.
sweet sensation
Another successful quick service retail restaurant case study worth using in this tutorial is that of Sweet Sensation. Founded by Kehinde Kamson, the story is very inspiring for anyone planning to start a fast food business.

The story is proof of how one’s passion can grow into something larger than one’s self and can become a source of livelihood for hundreds and even thousands of people.

Sweet Sensation was not the first business Kehinde Kamson started. She had earlier started a “little shop” called “Fishmongers” while working as an accountant at an oil service company where she sourced for fish among fish mongers around Lagos. She operated this business for five years but the business fell through as she discovered it was not sustainable.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Combining two jobs or having a business on the side while still working is a great way to start your way to eventual financial freedom.

BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* It’s not compulsory you must make a particular business work, if you are doing your best to make it work and it’s just not working, maybe you should allow it to die after all, maybe you need to explore your true passion.

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She decided to instead start a pastries and cakes business which would tap into her childhood love for baking and cooking. She named this business, Citicate – the City Caterers.

 Through Citicate, she catered for functions and continued to run it while keeping her full time job as an Accountant. According to her, she would wake up early in the morning at about 3am and then afterwards would deliver her pastries to various clients before heading off to work.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Entrepreneurship actually requires long hours of work. It is not for the lily livered and lazy. If you are going to succeed in any business, as the owner, you must be willing to put in long hours of work, especially at the beginning stages

BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Explore Your True Passion. Your business must be built around your true passion.

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Eventually she quit her full time job to run Citicate full time when its demands became unbearable. She began supplying her cakes and pastries to University of Lagos where she says her pastries were quickly becoming popular especially Medilag, the University of Lagos Medical School.

Soon, she began supplying to UTC and Leventis and then eventually, Mr. Biggs. This was a major win for her small but growing business and was part of the inspiration that encouraged her to found Sweet Sensation.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Plan for growth but don’t force growth. Growth is a natural process. If you are actually delivering quality stuff from your small beginning, demand will improve and growth will follow.

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According toKehinde Kamson:

“Mr. Biggs inspired me beyond imagination. It was not just the boost in my sales but the impressions I had as I watched on a daily basis their sales staff counting away loads of cash. I must confess I found that cash counting sight very inspiring…

…The cash counting at Mr. Biggs went on the whole day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. My prayer point became, ‘Lord, make our money counting session be as long as Mr. Biggs!’ “

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Be inspired and motivated by the success of others including your competitors. Envy breeds defeat and weakness, while motivation breeds desire to work hard.

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Four years after supplying to Mr Biggs, she decided to establish her own brand. This was how Sweet Sensation was born.

She started Sweet Sensation at a shed in the backyard of her family home where she set up a small bakery. She then moved to what she calls, “her first shop” which was the security/gate house at her father’s house in Ilupeju. Here she sold solid cakes, ice cream, rice, chicken and some Chinese food.

Her young business expanded rapidly and she soon yearned for yet another shop. This led her to found the brand’s second outlet in Victoria Island.

Though other brands such as Tantalizers and Tastee Fried Chicken (TFC) soon joined the quick service retail space, she strove to differentiate her brand by focusing on creativity, specifically on menu diversity and the ambience of Sweet Sensation outlets.

Despite the growing competitiveness of the space, she set up yet more stores in Opebi and Ogba in Lagos.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* START SMALL:  DO AS MUCH AS YOU CAN TO REDUCE

STARTUP OVER HEAD COST.

Don’t wait until you have all the capital in the world to start like the big names, truth is those big names actually didn’t start the way they are at the moment.

BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* COMPETITION: Competition is the oxygen upon which a business discovers its true essence and carves out its market. There will always be competition. In fact, your competitors will increase with time, but find out your uniqueness, capitalize on it and market it

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Funding
Kehinde Kamson did not rely on loans to start her business, as she started very small. However, after four years of running the business and considerable growth she took a couple of loans to fund the business’ expansion.

According to her, she ploughed back business profits and sacrificed luxury just to see to the growth of the business. Today, the business stands as a brand plucked out of fire and ready to enter other nations.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* As much as possible, avoid loans. Loan creditors are not after the interest of your business but the interest of their money.

BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* Sacrifice pleasure and enjoyment and let the business grow. It’s not yet time to tour or explore the world until the world has paid enough for it.

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Challenges
 Like many business owners in Nigeria (where businesses are not expected to survive), Kehinde Kamson faced many business challenges while growing Sweet Sensation. Key among these was standardizing the business’ processes and recipes. It was also difficult to deal with challenges peculiar to the Nigerian business environment such as poor power supply. She also suffered from pilfering issues among staff.

In 2009, she faced regulatory issues when the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) queried the company for falling short of regulatory standards in one of its branches. Though she insists that this was a false allegation, this was a trying period for the business as it impacted public perceptions of the brand.

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BIZ SUCCESS TIP:

* The press can kill or make an enterprise. As much as you can, buy into their good books oftenorce

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Lessons Learnt
 Now in its 18th year of its existence, Kehinde Kamson’s founding of Sweet Sensation into a successful and well known brand offers many lessons to Nigerian entrepreneurs.

In her recently published book, Pots, Pans and Spoons, she dispels several entrepreneurial myths that she thinks aspiring entrepreneurs should be skeptical of. Check out some of them below:

That you need a great deal of money to start a business
That you need to start big and with a bang
That you need a lot of contacts to start a business
That the business will be profitable within the first year
That all you need is hard work
That all you need is a great idea, business plan and a feasibility study report
That you cannot have a well rounded life as an entrepreneur who wants to succeed
That when you start a business you must expand immediately
Kehinde Kamson is an inspiring African entrepreneur worthy of emulation and we hope you pass her story on.

Thanks for reading.
Source : Danieldigest.com

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