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How to Start an Online Restaurant in Nigeria

Last updated on September 27th, 2023 at 05:19 am

The online restaurant business in Nigeria is a service-rendering venture. This involves the delivery of food to customers either by a restaurant or independent food delivery outlets. These orders are made via customer telephone, a website owned by the restaurant, or a custom-designed app.

Most of the meals available in online restaurants range from Nigerian dishes or any African dish, Continental dishes, drinks, desserts, and snacks. These meals are delivered in a package, either a food container, a box, or a bag depending on the nature of the meal. The deliveries are done using a car, bike, or scooter.

The opportunities inherent in the Nigerian online restaurant business are ever-increasing. This is because online food delivery is a well-known business and very easy to start and run successfully. This a great business for any aspiring entrepreneur who is looking for a business idea with assured returns.

Restaurant business in Nigeria

The restaurant industry in Nigeria has witnessed a phenomenal growth, averaging 40 percent per annum over the past five years.

The industry consists of three main sub-sectors – hotels and resorts, restaurants, and institutional/industrial/outdoor contracts.

To start a restaurant in Nigeria, there are legal considerations such as choosing the right business structure, obtaining the proper licenses and permits, paying the relevant fees and levies, dealing with health and safety, getting adequate insurance, dealing with employees, etc.

The restaurant industry in Nigeria is a lucrative business with immense growth potential due to the population growth and rising disposable incomes.

On average, you can start a standard restaurant business in Nigeria with anything from N1,000,000.

Types of Online restaurant business in Nigeria

1). Independent Vendor: this involves entering into partnerships with different restaurants to provide food delivery services independent of their operations.

2). Personal Restaurant: this involves your own restaurant and online menu which you deliver to people during lunchtime, in a seminar, and to corporate parties.

3). Liaison With A Known Restaurant: this involves operating your deliveries exclusively with only one Restaurant.

How Profitable is the online restaurant business in Nigeria

More than half of the Nigerian population is made up of working-class people, who get to face the heavy traffic condition in places like Lagos and Onitsha. These people barely get time to prepare their own meals and therefore they tend to rely on food delivery services.

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With determination, you can make up to two hundred thousand nairas monthly profit as people who can’t leave their offices need your services.

Online Restaurant Business Competition and Opportunities in Nigeria.

Food-related businesses can never be affected by economic hard times. No matter the situation people must get hungry and need to eat. Lagos has an average population of over 25 million residents and most of them are working-class who leave their houses at 4:30 a.m. and come back to their hours at 9:00 p.m. or even 11:00 p.m. due to traffic.

These people depend on food delivery services from online restaurants. This business, however, has stiff competition from big restaurants already in the market but with the right plan and attitude, you will grow your online restaurant.

How to start an online restaurant business in Nigeria

If you wish to start an online restaurant business in Nigeria, these are the steps you need to get started.

What are the most popular types of cuisine in Nigerian restaurants?

Nigerian cuisine is diverse and rich in flavor, with a wide variety of dishes that vary by region and ethnic group. Some of the most popular dishes in Nigerian restaurants include:

  1. Jollof Rice – a rice dish made with pureed tomato and Scotch bonnet-based sauce.
  2. Suya – grilled meat coated with ground chili pepper, peanut powder, and other local spices.
  3. Egusi Soup – a soup made with ground melon seeds and vegetables.
  4. Pounded Yam – a starchy side dish made by boiling yam and pounding it until it becomes smooth and stretchy.
  5. Moi Moi – a steamed bean pudding made with black-eyed peas, onions, and peppers.
  6. Eba – a starchy side dish made from cassava flour.
  7. Pepper Soup – a spicy soup made with meat or fish and a blend of spices.
  8. Akara – deep-fried bean cakes.
  9. Fried Rice – a rice dish made with vegetables, eggs, and sometimes meat.
  10. Egusi Stew – a stew made with ground melon seeds, vegetables, and meat or fish.

These dishes are just a few examples of the many delicious and popular types of cuisine you can find in Nigerian restaurants.

STEP #1: Get Capital For The Business

This business does not require a lot to get started. You can just get started with as little as N60,000 that you can use to get everything necessary when preparing food exclusive of the cooker since you can use what you have available in your house if you deliver your own food and not in a partnership with a restaurant. 

You can as well get a small business loan to get started with your online business. You can get your loan from government funds, or other financing institutes, or you can also get a loan from your family members and friends.

STEP #2: Choose A Strategic Location to do Deliveries

The location you choose for your business determines a lot about the success of that business. Deciding to operate your online restaurant in a residential area can turn out to be a total failure since most of these people are always in their houses and they would rather cook than order food.

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Locate a good environment where you can start your online restaurant delivery services, especially in a metropolitan area with a high-profile record. You need to make sure the area you choose to operate in has many potential customers for your business to be able to grow and succeed.

STEP #3: Create Your Brand Name and Logo

A brand name is very important since it tells a lot about your business. Your Brand name should reflect the on-time delivery of the food and should also be catchy. This is crucial since customers will not only, trust your meals for their taste but also for on-time delivery.

Make sure that your business name is unique and simple too. Your business name should be simple enough for your customers to quickly remember it, especially when they need to order some food.

You need a professional-looking logo and so, it is advisable to get a professional to design a logo for your business. Remember that your logo and your brand name should give the same message.

STEP #4: Register Your Business Name With CAC

Once you have your brand name and logo the next thing is to register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to avoid government sanctions and harassment.

Registering your business is very important, especially for business authenticity, a good reputation, and legal recognition. When a business is registered in Nigeria, the business owner has a separate legal identity from his/her business. Which means he/she gets separate legal protection.

When liability arises from the business, the owner will not be held personally liable or responsible. It is also easier to secure loans from banks with a registered business, as compared to applying for a personal loan. Your legal business documents can facilitate a funding process for your business.

STEP #5: Get The Required Business License

To operate your online restaurant business smoothly in Nigeria, you will have to legalize your business. Doing that will help you avoid getting into trouble with the authorities. To legalize your business you will have to visit government offices near you that deal with business licensing.

Since you are starting a restaurant, you will need to get a license from the health department. There are some regulatory bodies in charge of issuing licenses for restaurant businesses. If you are starting big from NAFDAC under the federal ministry of health.

Getting a business license requires some cash and so, you need to think about that when you are budgeting.

STEP #6: Set Prices and Payment Methods

In any business setting a price for your products is very important since the price will determine how much you make.

When setting your prices, put into consideration all the expenses such as the cost of preparing the meals if you are not in partnership with a restaurant, packaging, delivery, and any other transactions which might be involved. 

If you can’t make enough money from your business to pay for its own expenses then you need to review your pricing. The price should include all the expenses and your profit. So put everything into consideration before setting your prices.

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Since you are going to operate an online restaurant, you need to have at least two payment methods since different people prefer different payment methods.

You can offer payment methods such as Pay on Delivery where your delivery person receives the cash or has it sent to your account on delivery, through POS, Bank transfer, or any other popular payment method in Nigeria.

STEP #7: Marketing Strategies

After you have everything ready, you need to think about marketing your online restaurant business.

This is because, no matter how good your meals are if your potential customers don’t know your business exists, there is no way they will buy it.

Marketing your business will help boost the profitability and sustainability of your online restaurant business.

Most of the time we talk about advertising through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and even through their paid promotions but is that enough?

Below are some of the marketing strategies you can use to market your online restaurant:

  • Ensure your first clients and any other client is satisfied with your services and by doing that they will refer their friends to you. This means you have to offer quality services.
  • You can also market your business by sharing leaflets, flyers, and business cards.
  • For customers who are in their offices and need lunch, the best way to go about this is by meeting them in person and telling them all about your services.
  • You can also start an online ordering shop. You can do that by setting up a website for people to order food through it. Hiring a website design agency or individual would be a better idea to go about this.
  • Employing outdoor advertising methods like the erection of billboards at a strategic location can really help. However, this requires soo much money but it also has a highly effective offline advertising conversion rate.
  • As mentioned earlier, you can also maximize social media management and paid advertisement for your online restaurant business.
  • Advertising through your deliveries can also help your business. This can be done by, branding your deliveries with your brand name, logo, and contact details.

Profitability and Sustainability Tips for your Online Restaurant Business In Nigeria

a). Always ensure that your customers are happy. You can do that by providing quick services not forgetting that the quality of the meal should be worth their money.

b). Use fast means to deliver the food such as motorbikes or bicycles. This is because they can easily maneuver through traffic.

c). Make sure you have an accurate order-taking system and double-check for confirmations before alerting the restaurant about the order. This will help avoid wrong orders.

d). When it comes to order cancellations, you will have to give a full refund to the customer if the error was from your side. To also make peace with the customers you can offer a discount on their next order.

Conclusion

The information given in this article is very important, especially when starting an online restaurant in Nigeria. Although the above steps do not guarantee success, they can help you be on the right track. I hope the information in this article will help you get your dream restaurant into reality.

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