10 Practical Steps to Start a Fast Food Restaurant in Nigeria

by Degreat Michael

More than ever, the fast food restaurant business has become very lucrative and popular in Nigeria. Over time, people’s lifestyles and food choices have changed. Beyond making more money to keep up with these lifestyles, many people consider ready-made delicacies from fast food restaurants.

Likewise, the demand for quick meals has increased as Nigerian cities get bigger and busier. This is why your idea of starting a fast food restaurant in Nigeria anytime soon is pretty reasonable.

According to the Association of Fast-Food Confectioners of Nigeria (AFFCON), Nigeria’s fast-food industry is worth N250 billion and it has been growing at a 10% rate per year. To this end, we’ve prepared a guide that reveals certain effective steps to follow before starting a fast food restaurant in Nigeria.

As a new entrepreneur looking forward to succeeding in the food industry, you will also discover many helpful tips in this guide. Stay tuned!

10 Practical Steps to Start a Fast Food Restaurant in Nigeria

With proper execution and a focus on customer satisfaction, you can run an eatery and thrive in the competitive market. However, starting and running a fast food restaurant requires careful planning, attention to detail, and dedication.

That said, the steps below will simplify everything you need to know to set up and profitably run a fast food restaurant business in Nigeria.

  1. Carry out market research and analysis

When starting a fast food restaurant in Nigeria, conducting market research is the first step to take. Identify your target customers and what they like. Analyze the competition and find ways to stand out or ace the competition. 

Research has shown that Tantalizers (a popular fast food chain in Nigeria) conduct market research to offer menu items that cater to local tastes. They understand that studying the competitive landscape gives them opportunities to set themselves apart. You should do the same to also single out your restaurant.

Moreover, careful market research and analysis can help you determine the ideal location for your eatery. Your chosen business location can greatly impact the success of your restaurant. Thus, market research helps you make informed decisions and create a unique fast-food experience for your target customers.

Read also: Top 10 Food Delivery Apps in Nigeria

  1. Develop a business plan

Developing a business plan is essential when starting a fast food restaurant in Nigeria. You need to define the vision, mission, and goals for your restaurant.

However, before preparing a plan for your business, you should conduct a feasibility study. It’s crucial and will help you determine if your venture is financially viable. For instance, Sweet Sensation, a successful fast-food chain in Nigeria, has a strong business plan. They conducted a feasibility study to expand their business and boom! They made it to the top.

Thus, it’s vital to create a comprehensive business plan that includes your concept, menu, pricing, and marketing strategy. By considering these aspects, you can align your restaurant’s offerings with customer expectations. 

  1. Address legal and regulatory considerations

No legal business exists on its own without a legal framework to back it up. Similarly, when starting a fast food restaurant in Nigeria, you must consider the legal and regulatory aspects.

First, you must register your business with the appropriate authorities and get the necessary licenses and permits to operate a food establishment. In Nigeria, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the right place to start. After registering your name, you should also adhere to health and safety regulations/standards. Through this, you can maintain a safe environment for both customers and employees.

For example, Mr Bigg’s, a renowned fast food chain in Nigeria follows relevant regulations to ensure the quality and safety of their food. Likewise, you should learn about the legal obligations of your restaurant business and fulfil them. Only then can you create legally compliant fast-food restaurants that earn the public trust. To make things easier for you, you can seek the service of a legal practitioner(s).

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  1. Design the restaurant layout

This often goes hand in hand with finding a suitable location for your business. After finding a location that meets your target market’s needs, you want to give your restaurant a befitting design and layout. You should consider enough space as you plan for your restaurant’s physical facility which would include a kitchen, dining area, storage, and parking lot. 

Consider the accessibility, visibility, and lease terms of your restaurant. Plan the interior layout of your fast food restaurant business including seating arrangements, kitchen space, and customer flow. Also, make sure your restaurant complies with health and safety regulations.

  1. Setting up operations

Setting up effective and efficient operations is important when starting a fast food restaurant. Identify the necessary equipment, supplies, and ingredients for your restaurant. Establish relationships with reliable suppliers. Also, learn how to negotiate favourable terms to ensure a smooth supply chain.

For example, let’s consider Chicken Republic in Nigeria. They didn’t become a popular fast-food chain overnight. They’ve learned how to maintain strong partnerships with local suppliers for sourcing fresh ingredients. Hence, as part of your effort to set up operations for your fast food restaurant, consider human capital.

Train and assign qualified staff to tasks to ensure excellent customer service. That way, you can lay a solid foundation for a successful fast food restaurant.

  1. Develop a perfect menu and pricing mechanism

If you are trying to start a fast food eatery in Nigeria, you should consider what your menus and pricing should be like. Make extensive research on menu development and pricing. Take your time to design a diverse menu that caters to the tastes and preferences of your target audience.

For instance, Domino’s Pizza in Nigeria offers a variety of pizza flavours tailored to local palates. They continue to source high-quality ingredients while keeping costs in mind to maintain profitability.

Determining competitive and profitable pricing strategies can help you attract customers while ensuring sustainable business growth. The bottom line is to carefully craft your menu and pricing effectively. Also, by offering delectable dishes to your customers, you can drive your fast-food business to success.

  1. Map out engaging brand and marketing strategy

More often than not, you must have heard this popular phrase in business, “customer is king.” This is so true as no business can survive without customers. If you want to succeed in your journey to start and scale up your fast-food business in Nigeria, you must create an engaging brand and marketing strategy. For example, Tastee Fried Chicken has successfully established its brand as a reliable and tasty fast food option.

How did they achieve that? The answer is simple. They started by developing a unique brand identity that resonates with their target customers. Interestingly, that involves building an online presence through a website and active social media platforms to connect with customers and showcase their offerings.

You can make your fast food restaurant in Nigeria big by creating a strong brand and using smart marketing strategies. However, don’t forget that effective marketing strategies include online and offline advertising. The aim is to reach a wider audience.

  1. Spell out how you want to settle your customers

As said earlier, it’s essential to have an effective and efficient operation to start a fast food restaurant in Nigeria. But beyond that, you want to be proactive in making your potential customers happy. To do this, there should be efficient ways to take orders, prepare food, and deliver it. 

Take KFC in Nigeria for example, they work hard to quickly fulfil orders and make sure they’re delivered well. That’s because they understand that giving great customer service is a big deal too. Hence, create a mechanism for how you propose to listen to what your customers are saying to make things better. When you work efficiently and offer great service, you can build a good reputation and make lasting customer connections in Nigeria’s fast-food industry.

  1. Plan financial management and sustainability

Setting up a strong financial management system is so vital when starting a fast-food cafeteria in Nigeria. That way, you can keep track of your income and expenses to understand how your business is doing. You can also manage costs and find ways to make more profit. For instance, brands like Sweet Sensation in Nigeria carefully manage costs to ensure profitability.

Make plans for the future by thinking about long-term sustainability and opportunities to grow your business. By spending wisely, you can run a fast-food restaurant successfully and set yourself up for future expansion.

Read also: Effects of Online Food Retailing in Nigeria

  1. Secure funding

At this stage, you should calculate the financial needs of your fast-food restaurant and investigate available funding sources. These sources could be personal savings, loans, or potential investors. Many entrepreneurs in Nigeria have secured funding for their fast food ventures through partnerships with local banks or investors.

Equipment Needed to Start a Fast Food Restaurant

You’ll need some essential equipment to start a fast food restaurant in Nigeria. Let’s explore these necessary items in detail. 

  • Cooking appliances

These are tools that you’ll need in your restaurant business to prepare a variety of delicious foods. Some of these appliances include fryers, grills, ovens, microwaves, etc.

  • Refrigeration units

At some point, you’ll also need refrigeration units such as walk-in coolers, freezers, and refrigerated display cases. These units will help you store ingredients and keep food fresh for serving.

  • Food preparation tools

These tools are essential for preparing ingredients and creating delicious dishes. They include cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, measuring utensils, and food processors.

  • Serving equipment

To start a fast food restaurant, you’ll need serving equipment like counters, cash registers, trays, serving utensils, and food warmers. These items facilitate efficient and organized food service to customers.

  • Storage containers

To keep your ingredients, sauces, and condiments safe, you’ll need storage containers for your fast-food restaurant. These containers help maintain freshness and organization in your kitchen.

Read also: 15 Most Indigenous and Popular Nigerian Foods

  • Dishwashing facilities

Every fast food restaurant needs dishwashing facilities. These include sinks, dishwashers, and drying racks to ensure cleanliness and maintain a safe food preparation environment.

  • Beverage stations

You’ll need beverage stations for serving drinks. Some of the equipment to set up a beverage station include dispensers, coffee machines, blenders, and ice makers. If you have all the necessary equipment, you can prepare and serve a wide range of delicious drinks to your customers.

  • Furniture

To start a fast-food restaurant, you need furniture such as tables, chairs, and booths. These provide comfortable seating arrangements for customers to sit and enjoy their meals in a pleasant environment.

  • POS machine 

You need to satisfy your potential customers as a fast-food business owner. One sure way to do that is to get them to make orders and payments with ease. Here’s where a POS (Point of Sale) machine and payment gateways like Flutterwave, etc, come in.

On the other hand, with a computer-based system, you can efficiently run a fast-food restaurant business. This can help you manage orders, payments, inventory, and take accurate record-keeping for your business.

  • Safety equipment

You need to comply with local health and safety regulations while setting up your fast-food restaurant. But taking a step further beyond papers, you’ll need to get safety equipment to start an eatery. Some of these equipment include fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and first aid kits. This equipment ensures a safe environment for both customers and staff.

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FAQ: How Much Does it Cost to Start a Fast Food Restaurant?

This is the most common question asked by aspiring entrepreneurs like you who want to start an eatery. The cost of starting a fast food restaurant in Nigeria varies based on some factors. These factors include location, size, concept, menu, and quality. Other factors to consider are inventory, marketing, licenses, equipment, and space.

Final Thoughts

The journey to running a successful fast food restaurant needs careful planning and execution. Bear in mind that Nigeria’s fast food industry has many growth opportunities and challenges. However, if you follow the practical steps highlighted in this guide, running an eatery will become an easy ride for you.

What’s more? It’s time to chase your dreams of owning a restaurant. Commence this thrilling journey today and enjoy the huge rewards of Nigeria’s fast food industry!

About Author

Avatar of Degreat Michael
Degreat Michael
Degreat is an expert SEO content writer, self-published author and founder of Greatcrackers.com. With over 5 years of experience in a variety of content writing, he helps struggling small business owners create result-driven web copies that sell their brand stories.

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Avatar of Chukwudi Emmanuel Onyekaonwu
Chukwudi Emmanuel Onyekaonwu February 18, 2024 - 11:07 am

I read your writeup on how to start a fast food business in Nigeria

Avatar of Kehinde Babajide
Kehinde Babajide February 20, 2024 - 9:52 pm


Do you have any questions?


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