The main aim in a game of Monopoly is to collect as many properties as possible and build an empire that can bankrupt your opponents.
The Lebanese takeover started as early as 1840 in most cities in Nigeria. After the economic crisis in Lebanon, most of the indigenes fled to avoid further destabilization and maintain what is left of their dignity. At this time, a ship that intended to take some Lebanese to Brazil ended up in Calabar; the majority of people on this ship had no resources to continue to their intended destination, so they settled in Calabar and spread across Nigeria. With the little finances they had, they took out time to study their location and adapt swiftly to sustainable trading methods by identifying and harnessing opportunities.
They reduced the output of financial resources by passing knowledge of the trade to family members. They understood the need for their community; they effectively built it by keeping the trading in the circle and timely gathering of the people. They were quick to pay attention to the market and study new patterns when the indigenous traders were sticking to the status quo. The Lebanese were careful to not focus on the advertisement, used low prices, and expanded their shops.
Moving into the Lebanese takeover of the restaurants business in Lagos.
In June 1948, the Executive council made a declaration of the new law for immigrants and aliens after perceiving their effectiveness and elimination of middlemen – most of which were locals-. The law summarized that non-Nigerians would only be allowed to set up a business if it would benefit the economy.
It might not be the Lebanese’s intention to bankrupt Nigerians in the restaurant industry, but they needed to do what was needed to survive. Yes, when you walk into a restaurant in Lagos, you find out it’s either owned or managed by a Lebanese or some foreigner who realistically is doing his/her job well. After a nice meal and great customer service, you walk out of these restaurants with pressing questions in your head. Questions like, how are they so organized? Why is the restaurant manager a foreigner? Would a Nigerian-owned restaurant service ever be so good?
The Lebanese community is known for its effectiveness in restaurant management, and this is how it began. Around the 1980s, after the introduction of the hawking of ewa agoyin in Lagos by the Eguns, brands like UAC and Leventis began creating lunchtime pastries and showcasing them in show glasses for daily workers around them. Some years later, Mama Cass came into existence, encouraging the birth of brands like Mr. Biggs, Tantalizer, and Sweet Sensation.
Through this time, the Lebanese community observed, studied, and assessed future trends before implementing their survival strategy in this industry.
They used their access to facilities, lands, and resources, and they put these things to good use by setting up food places and maintaining a good reputation in the industry. Today, a good number of restaurants in Lagos are owned and effectively managed by Lebanese people. It would continue to be that way until Nigerians adopt the skills and management patterns of the Lebanese.
While you might want to get upset at the operations and way of taking over, it is important you know that they worked hard, adopted effective measures, and abided by the rules given to them. They also understood that there was something at risk if they didn’t make progress. Whether or not you like it, elite Nigerians would choose sophisticated, trusted good services from restaurants like Salma’s and Grenadine over the services rendered by the locals, hence the increase in sales and restaurant outlets owned by Lebanese in Lagos and a few other states.