Business Ideas

Catering Business


The beginning is not always easy, especially when one does not have the wherewithal to start a business. However, taking a bold step to start may just be the springboard that makes the difference and shoots an individual to limelight.

Those where the words of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Sumptuous Meals Limited, Mr. Boniface Imo-Owo,

who after graduating as a food, catering and hotel management technologist at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, had to set up his own business.

He notes that in order to make his dream real, he had to first work to gather some experience. After then, I worked with Tastee Fried Chicken, I was there for a year and three months. I later decided to resign my appointment. My MD even asked me where I was going and I told her I did not know but that I felt I should do something for myself, he said.

Starting up his own business, therefore, required deep reasoning, which translated his dream into reality.

According to him, I looked at the environment, I didn’t have the kind of resources to compete with all the big names in the eatery industry. I looked around the society and I discovered that there were people who were quite busy, business executives, bankers who were married, young ladies who were married and did not have time to cook for their husbands. So, I decided to explore that area.

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He states, I went to one of the banks to explore. I met a few of them and discussed my proposal. I told them I knew they had problems, which bothered on issues about food and their husbands. I told them to allow me to deliver some meals to them at home. I said I would do that for a week and that was it.

He adds that after gathering some clients, he graduated to party services, which eventually paved the industrial catering, while the original concept remained at the background.

While emphasising that catering on its own was large and capital intensive, Imo-Owo stresses that it is a lucrative business. Nevertheless, one will need to devote some time and money on the business if one must succeed.

You need to devote some time if you want to compete or make headway, and you need much capital to get that. The equipment are expensive, some are imported while some are manufactured here.

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So if you really want to play with the big players, you need to get all these things put together, he states.

For those who may want to start on a small scale and make headway, he says that between N10,000 and N15,000 is be enough to invest on cooking utensils, like cookers or burners and a 13kg bottle of gas.

He adds that part of the benefits, outside being self employed, will offer one the opportunity to serve the public and create employment for others as he grows.

He says, At least you are on your own and you can feed yourself and your family, you can even extend jobs to others. It will get to a stage when one or two people are helping to alleviate unemployment.

As to the benefits accruable to his patrons, you go to fast foods, and the local food vendor, and one would see all manner of foods. Since individuals have different taste buds, one should try to meet it all.

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As regards challenges, according to him, the electricity power generation is poor, to set up a business, you pay as much as N1.3m and some other equipment to get things done, and you keep fuelling every other day.

Spending so much and buying diesel is a major concern, he says.

Imo-Owo, who also holds a Masters of Business Administration degree points out that the country’s financial institutions are not helping matters, as one will have to borrow at 23 per cent interest rate for expansion purposes.

However, he says catering is a profitable business and one may start with industrial, which does not require spending on equipment.

According to him, the company provides it for you and this gives you a leverage that helps for some time before you can now start on your own.

It is a business that needs determination, I must sound a warning. People believe that a good business is all about money, but the important thing is that you are serving the public. The money may not roll in so fast, he adds.


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