About a few months ago my friend was getting married and we needed to make plans – budget on how much to be spent on his wedding right from the traditional to the white wedding, venue, food for the guest.
This was a cumbersome task ahead of us that demanded every little time we had after work together but I was willing and devoted to this because it was a joyful thing plus the fact that it is a once in a lifetime event.
Also, I knew he was also going to support me when it’s my turn.
Yes, I wouldn’t hide that.
So we started the budget but first of all, we made a list of everything we can think of as regards having a wedding in Nigeria, and with the support of his fiancé then now wife we were able to come up with something good.
Chinedu told me his budget for the whole wedding was about N1.5M so after thinking and writing down everything that will be needed for the wedding, we started to exclude items we felt we could either replace or do without, that was how we got to – food.
And he told me specifically that he would want small chops for his wedding reception because, 1. It saves cost and 2. It will go round for his entire guest at the reception.
I asked him why he was not interested in the local Nigerian foods at all and he told me that based on his budget going for Nigerian food might not be able to go round for all the guest and he doesn’t want complaints besides he wants something different, unique from what you see at the typical Nigerian wedding.
To cut the long story short, we contacted a caterer a small chops specialist for the price of 500 plates because the total guests for the reception were 500 that was when I was wowed.
The caterer told us that she was going to charge us N500 per plate but she was going to give us the best service.
We tried convincing her to give us a discount but all to no avail. She said usually she charges N550 – N600 per plate but because this was the first time we are doing business with her she was going to give us for the price of N500 – just for us to try her out.
Still amazed after Chinedu dropped the call, I flipped out my phone and went straight to my calculator app to do the maths of what I just heard and my calculator summed everything we had discussed to N250,000.
“So there’s money in this business”, I said to myself.
Although there were other benefits she mentioned like delivery at our doorstep (bringing the small chops to our venue), bringing her servers, and so on, I couldn’t get my mind of the total money she was to be paid in return, this was how my finding started about small chops business in Nigeria because I wanted to know more.
For those of us that have been attending parties in Nigeria right from the time we were born, we all know small chops never existed at first in our parties.
All we had then during our birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, burial ceremonies were commonly jollof rice and native foods like amala, pounded yam and the likes and drinks and the usual cake but along the way, small chops came and changed the way we did parties and the way we treat our guest.
In my further findings, I was trying to know how small chops came into Nigeria but No one has been able to give me a precise story as this came to be.
Everyone, I asked all seem to direct their answer to the ideas being an overseas idea – something copied from abroad.
I don’t know how true this is but share your own idea in the comments.
Equipment Needed to Start Small Chop Business
There are many basic equipment you need. You can get all these in your small chops business plan but if you cannot afford that you can just keep reading.
I listed them below.
You’ll need basic cooking tools used for cooking in large quantities. Basically almost all the kitchen utensils in your kitchen you use for cooking but in bigger sizes.
- Big frying pans
- Egg mixer
- Steel dish
- Turning stick (omorogun)
- Flat wooden spatula
- Measuring cups
And so on.
The list all depends on you. You can remove from it to reduce the cost spent on capital and you can add to it just do what is comfortable for you.
As for my opinion on getting a shop, I don’t think you need that on starting out the business.
From what I’ve seen from the people already in the business operating your catering business from home right from your kitchen or compound (if it is neat) is always the best.
Location is not the most important thing. It is how well you can deliver and how fast.
Instead of looking for funds to get a shop rather create social media campaigns to advertise and make beautiful complimentary cards for the small chops business, you can give to customers especially people who don’t know what you do.
This advice is in my small chops business plan but I’ll talk about this later here in the article.
Is Small Chops Business Profitable?
Seriously, this is always the question on every Nigerians’ mind when it comes to starting businesses in Nigeria. And this is a good question because we all know the major reason for starting a business is to make profits.
If a business is not making money no matter the energy put into it, it is regarded as a total waste of time.
So the question of whether small chops is business in Nigeria is lucrative or not is obvious from the early explanations I’ve given so far. Yes, small chops business is a lucrative business because you are supplying to groups of people at once (weddings, birthdays, concerts, and so on).
The higher the number of guests required for you to prepare for the higher the profits you make.
Let’s say you have a contract to make small chops for 1000 guests and you charge max N400 per plate you will be making N400,000. This might not necessarily be a huge profit because you have not deducted your expenses but still it is a big profit.
Also, the demand for small chops for 1000 guests will help you buy your ingredients at wholesale and when you buy in wholesale you make more profit because the ingredients are cheaper, unlike buying from the usual retailers.
So you see here the more guests you have to make for the more profits for you in every way and more gain for the buyer because you can be able to give discounts (as much as you feel you need to).
Also, you can still make good money from small chops business even if you are making for 20 people or less as you’re just starting out. All you have to do is still buy your ingredients in bulk, make your small chops very delicious and give good prices to your customers that they will always have to come back.
List of Nigerian Favorite Small Chops
Here’s the list of the favorite small chops Nigerians eat.
- Spring rolls
- Mini puff puff
- Mini sausage rolls
- Asun (smokes peppered spicy goat meat)
- Nigerian mini doughnuts
- Gizdodo/Dodo gizzards (plantain and gizzards)
- Meat stuffed yam/potato balls
- Banana puff puff
- Nigerian battered plantain
How to Start Small Chops Business in Nigeria
1. Learn How to Make Small Chops
Small chops business in Nigeria is one of the businesses you can’t start without prior expertise according to what I’ve heard from those already in the business.
Every boss in the business today started as a servant.
Asides from the fact that you can learn how to make some of the snacks by watching videos on YouTube, you still need to learn how to make the difficult ones like spring rolls and gizdodo from someone who makes it well (a professional).
Taste is another factor and it’s one of the things you can never learn through YouTube because it’s a marketing secret. So you need to learn how to make the snacks from professionals, how to package them and serve them.
All these play a vital role in the success of the business.
2. Buy Your Cooking Equipment
After learning how to make snacks for the small chops business, the next stage is to buy your cooking equipment to start.
It’s not necessary you buy the expensive ones now. You can buy the cheap equipment first then as time goes by you can buy the expensive ones.
I would have asked you to rent the equipment if you know you cannot afford new equipment but this will slow your business in the sense that the equipment might not be available for rent anytime you need them and besides renting is more expensive in the long run so the best thing here is to buy your own.
3. Advertise your Small Chops
I talked a bit about advertisements in the introduction but I feel I still need to give you more ideas on how to go about it.
There are 2 major forms of advertisements. We have; online advertisement and offline advertisement and both are important as regards this business. For the online, you’ll need to create a page for your small chops business on Instagram.
Adverts of food and clothing tend to turn followers into customers on Instagram faster than Facebook and Twitter combined. You can start small by just posting pictures of your freshly made snacks and has time goes buy you can do paid adverts to increase your followership, reach, and brand influence.
Also, reach out to food bloggers and try to form a bond (good relationship) with them. You never know as time goes by they may send customers to you.
For the offline adverts, you need to make attractive complimentary cards you can give to people and customers. You can start with just making 1000 copies then as time goes by, if there’s the need to make more you can.
4. Get Your First Customer
In starting any business in Nigeria getting your first customer is always the most difficult task but there is a way you can do this with ease and these are by making samples of your small chops and supply them to those you know are likely to patronize you.
Give these samples of small chops to influential people in different fields so these people will influence their subordinates to patronize you.
Also, make sure the sample is the best in terms of taste and looks (looking tantalizing).
And after getting your first customer you might need to consider giving huge discounts to make it easy for them to patronize you easily.
Remember the woman customer I talked about at the early of this article? She gave discounts to us because it was our first time doing business with us.
5. Supply Your First Order
When you finally win and get your first order do not take it for granted even if the guests you are making for are small it is still a big deal because if done well those small guests can refer you to big guests.
Make sure you put in every detail when you’re supplying this order and make sure everything is perfect. Deliver on time and also be ready to part with your complimentary cards at the venue (as many as possible).
The technique I’ve seen used times without number by many small chop company is gluing their complimentary cards to each plate of small chops delivered.
So that all guests can get their cards in case they liked what they ate and want delivery in the future. You can apply this too to reach more customers.
Small chops business in Nigeria is a business that needs patience and time. If you’re really passionate about it go into it and you’ll see with time you’ll thank God you did. It’s not a business-only for women men to do it.
In fact, I know men who are in the business.
That’s all in this article.
What other point did I miss? Please let me know in the comments. I’ll reply you ASAP – as soon as possible.
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