Talk of a woman of achievements in the Fastfood Industry, MRS ESOSA ODOIN IRUMUNDOMEN is a typical example.
A fast rising and enterprising young woman whose knack for excellence in all that she does sets her apart.
Right from birth, she was clear in her mind what she wanted to do in life.
This explains her success story in managing one of the successful Fastfood ventures in Benin City, Edo State.
As the Managing Director of Zonnes Calabar Kitchen, 33, Akpakpava Road, Benin City, Mrs. Irumundomen has not only weathered the storm of physical challenges and rigorous business activities to which staff are subjected daily, she has also proven that what a man can do, a woman can do even better.
In this interview with MOSHOOD KARIM O., She x-rays the dynamics of running a thriving Fastfood business in Nigeria.
Can we meet you?
My name is Mrs. Esosa Odoin Irumundomen. The Managing Director, Zonnes Calabar Kitchen, Benin City.
What does it take to run a Fastfood business?
Firstly, I would say one or two million naira. Though, this depends on your capability, because before you start a business you need to register it and there are other thing to put in place. Then, inspection by the relevant authorities.
So, it is actually about the size, what you want and the budget at your disposal. Another thing is the location of the business. This is very important. For example, if you want a place at the G.R.A, Akpakpava or any other commercial area in Benin City, you will pay more. This is because, acquiring properties like land in those places is quiet expensive.
What’s the best location to site a Fastfood business?
I think the best place is G.R.A, if the money is there. I discovered that, the way we sell here and the way they sell there is different. Prices of food and snacks there are times two of what we sell here and most people don’t complain because it is like everybody just have this mindset that am going to eat something without minding the price.
Again, it depends on the people you are catering for and your target market. My cousin just opened a restaurant at Adesuwa recently and he is selling a plate of food for #6, 000, up to #12, 000. Nobody will pay such amount for a plate of rice here. That’s the basics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted alot of businesses across the country. During the lockdown, how were you able to cope with running cost?
The COVID-19 lockdown period was bad for businesses. Basically, what we did then to survive was to reduce the number of staff and the working hours was from 9AM to 4PM because we really didn’t want to lockdown totally. But, the response from the customers was very poor because most people were at home.
So sales was down. Sometimes, you come to the business, no sales. Imagine that is your only source of income how difficult it would have been to survive. Everybody was actually managing then. Though we didn’t really care for the profit, our goal was to grow.
Are you aware of the Survival Fund put in place by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to cushion the effects of Coronavirus pandemic lockdown on businesses like your?
I have heard, but have not seen it?
That means you didn’t apply for it?
I really applied for it because my sister actually told us then to apply. So, we did but we have not received any payment. Though, she told me that some persons have received bank credit alert from the Survival Fund, we haven’t received any payment.
What is your message to the government to help improve Fastfood Industry vis-a-vis COVID-19 pandemic?
Honestly, the lockdown affected everyone, not just the Fastfood sector. This is because the market and other places were closed.
But, I will suggest that the government should reach the downtrodden directly. Motorable roads and schools should be constructed to help out-of-school children and probably put them on a free launch so that the common man will have hope. Employment should be created for the teeming unemployed graduates.
What’s your advice to anyone who wishes to venture into Fastfood business?
For anyone aspiring to run a business like this, such person must have idea about cooking. He or she must attend a Catering school.
Two, you can’t just employ people and be the “Madam”. They will rundown the place for you. It is a kind of business you don’t trust anybody and if you are not on ground to run your business, it will fold-up. That’s the reason you see alot of people opened the business next you see them shutdown.
It is corruption because the Manager you will employ is after what he can get. Even the Director. Everybody is looking for what they can get. Nobody is working for you just because they wish you to move forward. So, your eyes must be down to check the business to make sure things are going the right way.
During the lockdown, alot of Fastfood business closed down in Benin because the real owners were not around. They gave the business to Supervisors and Managers to manage and that led to the death of those businesses.