The explosion of restaurant business in Lagos
Everywhere you go in Lagos, you will surely find a bistro, lounge, restaurant, or buka spot. It feels like nobody else has anything to offer. How did we get here?
Earlier, we used to wait for hawkers to come into our streets; it developed into taking a walk to the junction to make purchases of the meals we wanted. It was either pap and akara, rice and spaghetti. Suddenly, we see spots and stands developing into bigger spaces with waiters/waitresses on their aprons with menus. For every 10 minutes walk anywhere in Lagos, you come across a restaurant.
Well, according to the Association of Fast Food and Confectioners of Nigeria (AFFCON), the Nigerian food industry is estimated to be worth over N1 trillion and is one of the best-performing industries in the country (Business Day). Research conducted around 2015 – 2017 showed that most Nigerians spend 70% of their income on food. The low-income earners spend 110% on food, meaning they get indebted to feed. Food is an unavoidable commodity and expense. That’s for food. How about restaurants in Lagos?
If you know Lagosians, you would testify that most of them are drawn by aesthetics, they also need to manage their tight schedule and have ease. These desires have fueled the openings of restaurants around and would continue to grow as the population of Lagosians increases.
Open a restaurant in Lagos, give it a beautiful interior, have constant light, and put together a costly menu with overpriced meals; as long as a Lagosian can sit in the building or order quickly, you’ve started your business. It appears easy until you figure it’s harder to sustain operations. Some of these restaurants are around to quench the taste of the people who desire to show off on social media with aesthetics. Three things are certain: as the population of Lagos grows, as the presence of social media remains, and if the law enforcement agencies don’t play their roles, there will be an increase in the number of restaurants getting established in Lagos.
Another reason is most people now use cooking and baking as a side hustle; this action paves way for almost anyone to call themselves a chef and set up food-eating or cooking spots.
It also appears that policymakers are too busy to pay attention to the number of unprofessional, incompetent, and unqualified restauranteurs in Lagos.
Yes, food does bring in revenue into Lagos state. But does the revenue justify the market?