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The Fast Track Nigerian Fast Food Industry. (Posted 22nd March, 2003) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

A Tantalizer's Outlet in LagosWhile the fast food industry is facing a period of recession in Europe and in the United States, as accounted by recent reports which shows falling sales and consequently falling earnings of a fast food giant like world renowned McDonalds. The Nigerian case is an entirely different situation, as food outlets are springing up like mushrooms in every nook and cranny of the country’s major cities. This new wave can only be compared with the rise in the creation of Pentecostal churches in the country.

A factor that can be easily attributed to the surge in this once dormant industry is traceable to the damage protracted military regimes have had on the Nigerian economy which has made the private sector to be more imaginative and daring. Nigeria’s private sector initiative and drive underscores Robert Schuler’s book title: “Tough Times Don’t Last But Tough People Do” and the leap in the fast food industry in the 1990s is a pointer to this fact. Currently Nigeria can boast of over 70 different brand names in this sector with a large chunk domiciled in Lagos.

Mr. Biggs, Nigeria's Largest Fast Food chainThe 1970s and late 1980s witnessed the domination of this sector by giant companies like Kingsway Snacks in Broad Street, Leventis Snacks in Marina, UTC Snacks, De Facto in Ojuelegba and Apapa, Kas Chicken along Itire Road, Surulere, and others. But the trend changed when Mr. Biggs, the fast food arm of UAC, Nigeria came out with a big bang and introduced the concept of multiple outlets in the fashion of McDonald’s.  Mr. Biggs dominated the fast food scene after its initial launch in 1986. The fast food giant is making so much profit from its 83 outlets that it has to some extent become a key part of UAC, Nigeria. Of these 83 outlets, 42 are located in Lagos alone and the newest one was recently opened in Ghana a few months ago. Soon though other investors saw the untapped potentials in the industry and other fast food joints began to emerge.

Unarguably, Lagos, Port Harcourt and to a degree, Abuja are currently the prime targets of these emerging markets. Presently, the competition between these brands is so fierce.  In Lagos, the duo of Mr. Biggs and Tantalizers are slugging it out outlet for outlet with their chain of outlets expanding at geometric progression within the metropolis.

It is difficult to escape noticing the colourful edifices and billboards of these fast food outlets. One is probably just around the corner of your street. The list is endless; Mr. Biggs, Tantalizers, Tastees Fried Chicken (TFC), Sweet Sensation, Big Treat, Favorites, Kas Chicken, Frenchies, Chiquita, Gina’s Fast Food Delite, Kingstine Jo Snacks & Burger, Friends, The Kitchen, Charlies and new entrants like Quarter Jack in Ogunlana Drive, Surulere, The Triangle along Kodesho Street, Ikeja, Trendy’s and Domino Dina both in Sabo, Yaba, Choppies in Ojuelegba among others too numerous to mention.

Due to the competitive nature of the market, many of the outlets have started to blend their menus with African cuisines like Pounded Yam, Amala, Moin Moin, Eba, Semovita, Fufu etc. This trend is more noticeable in the new entrants to the sector, a visit to Trendy’s in Sabo will give such a wide variety of The All New Triangle Fast Food ChainNigerian foods and The Triangle in Ikeja plans to have 3 tiers of service which includes fast food, African cuisines and Continental cuisines.

Other unexplored areas are in core Nigerian ‘fast food’ and snacks (possibly covering the over 300 varied ethnic nationalities within Nigeria). These include Boli (roasted plantain) and Epa (ground-nuts), Isu Esun (roasted yam) & Epo (palm oil) with dry pepper, Dundun (fried yam), fried plantain (Dodo), boiled and roasted corn, Eko (congealed, unflavoured custard) & Akara (beans cake), Ogi (unflavoured custard) & Moin Moin, Eran Igbe, Asun (barbecued goat meat), Suya (grilled cow meat) and many others.

A visit to any of these eateries during festivities, public holiday periods and week ends will underscore the level of patronage they enjoy and how much profit they are most likely making. In other to grow further this sector of the Nigerian economy, the banking sector and the Government have much to do in the area of medium-term to long-term loans with minimal interest rates, bank overdrafts,  Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) funds, improvement in water and electricity supplies, regular road maintenance and other incentives for would-be investors locally and from abroad.

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