Saturday, 6 August 2016

Buhari and Madam Banga Rice

Photo Credit : Timi Pudie

The TV series The Men Who Built America, detailed the business life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, how their private business help shaped American. The very foundation that the most powerful nation on earth USA, was built upon the private businesses of these men.

A New Warri can be achieved on a strong economic foundation, through businesses that are operating with a global mindset. Today we chose not blame the past or the present administration but do something about the economy of our city via the food sector.

If there is an industry that is unlikely to go down, it is probably the food industry. Regardless of the economic situation, weather or whatsoever, people must eat. People might stop buying clothes and jewelries but they will never stop eating. There are countless food vendors or center in Warri, but only a few names comes to mind and these names are fast food centers. No doubt, AJ Takeaway at airport road seem to dominate in the food business, but they are not the first neither are they going to be the last in the game, but they have operated with a global mindset that they’ve become the king in the city.

These fast food centers service only a fraction of the city’s population but the rest are by local food vendors on the road, in their quack shops, on their trolley or wheelbarrow or on tray on their heads.
We cannot appraise the quality of the food, but we can likewise not deny that they are good, but why are they under-performing or still at the subsistent level?

Madam Jollof rice, Iya bash, Madam Ukodo, Mama Ohwo or Madam Banga rice, sells good, cheap food but yet after years of operation they have not branched out neither have they stopped buying food materials on credit.

Here’s a few tip that can help them gain a good market share..

1.   Stop selling on credit.
One thing associated with our local food vendors, is that they sell on credit. They sell on credit often times because they have restricted themselves to selling only to their local domain and have gotten used and I've become familiar with their customers, thereby developing sympathy or empathy. No business survives on empathy or sympathy.

That I take breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month from AJ Takeaway, gives me no surety to demand for credit.

2.   Have a Structure
Now this may seem farfetched, but it’s achievable. There’s a food seller called Iya bash in my area, She sells correct jollof rice and pork meat every evening, but going there to buy is always difficult because of the crowd. For somebody like Iya Bash, she can put a structure, by having an employee whose only job is to give number and collect money from customers to have some sense of orderliness and control. Secondly what structure will do for her is eliminate the place of credit market. This can also be applied to food sellers who has a shop and has sales personnel. She can seat to collect money while someone else major on specific food selling and clearing of table. In most shop same person that sells food, washes plates and collect money, aside wasting time, it’s inefficient and unhealthy.

3.   Cleanliness.
Another put off with our local food vendors is that they are too dirty. This has stunted their growth, that they rarely get referrals and lose customers. These vendors start out neat and clean, but after three months of operation their food court looks like Grannies village kitchen.

4.   Maintain a specific Time and stay consistent.
For those that hawk on their head or push trolley, it’s paramount that they stay consistent and have a specific time that they go through their routes.
This category of food vendors customer base are business centers or workshops. Staying consistent and keeping a regular time frame will help grow and multiply customer base.

5.   Be Cheerful
Food vendors should be careful not to lose their customers because they are not cheerful or filled with pride. It is easy to disrespect and talk to your customers anyhow because you have plenty customers, this is one thing that is very common with our local food vendors.
No fast food staff can dare that, unless he or she is tired of working.

6.   Sell What the Area needs
I am yet to find a shop that if not up to the standard of these fast food centers in building structure and staff strength, that sells only our local dishes morning through evening. Food like Owho soup, Banga, white melon and Ukodo are food that are either sold at specific times by these local vendors.
Why can't we have a fast food, that sells only these kind of food? instead of doing the regular, why not do something different that represent us.

That’s a wrap from us today, it will be great to read your suggestions.

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