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How to Start Restaurant Business in Nigeria: Beginner Guide



Restaurant Business in Nigeria

How to start a restaurant business, buka business, fast food business or mama put business in Nigeria and make huge profits. Restaurant business or fast food business is one of the food business ideas in Nigeria you can start if you are passionate about cooking and you want to make money.

It is a business where you buy foodstuff raw, cook then sell it either to customers that are willing to eat in your shop or are willing to take it home. Restaurant business in Nigeria is a business that has been in Nigeria for a long time. It is one of the businesses that is as old as time itself.

I remember the time when I was a boy it was Mr. Biggs that was one of the biggest restaurants then. It was the most popular kind of restaurant in Nigeria. Now, it is KFC, Tantalizers, Mega Chicken, and the likes that are now gaining ground. Fast food restaurants like Tantalizers and Mega Chicken started from a humble beginning but everybody seems to have forgotten because of where they are today.

This business can be a food business where you sell local foods only or can be a food business where you sell everything related to foods combining local foods, intercontinental foods, and snacks. You can start with one aspect maybe local foods only and as time goes by diversifying by going into other kinds of foods like snacks or go into all at once if you are capable and you have the huge capital.

The restaurant business is one of the food businesses in Nigeria that you can go into with a small capital almost with anything you have and it is also a business that can demand huge capital from you if want to start big. For example, I know an entrepreneur here who started her restaurant business with just N20k.

I would not have believed this if she did not tell me herself because her restaurant is now worth N400k. She told me when she started she used all the plates and coolers in her house and just used the capital she had to buy the foodstuff she cooked for customers. “This is how low you can start this kind of business”.

The most important is how your food tastes, hygiene, and customer service”, she said. And I cannot agree less because truly that’s the way it is. If you do not have these 3 characteristics as a fast food business or restaurant in Nigeria you will not go far.

Is Restaurant Business Profitable?

Yes, the restaurant business is a profitable business and lucrative business for many reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that people do not have time to cook in the morning before heading out to work. For this, they will come to your restaurant, bukka, or joint to eat their breakfast.

Another reason why the restaurant business, in this case, is profitable is that Nigerians like to eat and they cannot do without food. When they are celebrating their birthdays or wedding anniversary they often celebrate this with food – eating in a restaurant. There are many other reasons why the food business is profitable in Nigeria but let us let it here and move to the next step.

Capital Needed to Start Restaurant Business

The capital you need to start a restaurant business, bukka business, or mama put in Nigeria varies on where you reside and how big you want the buka joint to be. But on average you will need a capital of N600,000 to start a restaurant business anywhere in Nigeria. This capital is regarded as the lowest because it can help you get the basics things you need to start the business.

Equipment Needed for Restaurant Business

Below are the equipment you will need to start a restaurant business, bukka business, or mama put business in Nigeria.

1. Pots

2. Gas cooker

3. Electric cooker

4. Microwave

5. Fridge

6. Chest Freezer

7. Blenders

8. Plates

9. Spatula

10. Big spoons

And much more.

Electronics Needed for Restaurant Business

Below are the electronics you will need in your restaurant business, bukka business, or mama put business in Nigeria. You electronics you can buy depend on the capital you have at hand.

1. Air Conditioner

2. Fans

3. Generator

4. Television

5. Sound System

Furniture Needed for Restaurant Business

In every restaurant business or bukka business or mama put business in Nigeria there is furniture that are needed to make your customers comfortable and to make the restaurant look beautiful and conducive. Below are the furniture needed for your restaurant business in Nigeria.

1. Tables

2. Chairs

3. Wine shelves

How to Start Restaurant Business in Nigeria

Here are steps on how to start a restaurant business in Nigeria.

1. Learn How to Cook Foods

Yes, obviously this is the first step to starting a restaurant, buka joint or mama put business in Nigeria. It is impossible to start a business like this if you cannot cook except of cause you are going to hire a cook to cook all the dishes you want to sell. Since cooking is the backbone of any restaurant business in Nigeria and all over the world, it is important to get your cooking perfect to a sellable point.

You need to get it right in terms of taste, packaging, and good customer service. Also, there must be consistency in these 3 things. You cannot give a good taste or customer service today and tomorrow drop your standard. You need to find out what customers like and stick with it. You can make it better by always looking for better ways but don’t drop the standard.

For example: If there’s a way you make your fried rice and your customers love it but you discover that after 3 hours the fried rice starts tasting soar you can look for ways to work on the fried rice to last longer without changing it taste or look. This is an improvement. Taste is a brand when it comes to the selling of cooked foods in Nigeria.

The taste of your food is your brand whether you like it or not. It is for this reason that Mega Chicken customers can recognize the taste of Mega Chicken food anywhere. As regards learning how to cook these foods before starting your buka business in Nigeria, it is not a must to learn all the foods well known in Nigeria.

You can start with some major foods you like and are naturally good at cooking and as time goes by when you have a good customer base start cooking other kinds of foods.

For Example: If you are good at cooking rice you can start with cooking white rice, jollof rice, and fried rice for your restaurant business, and as time goes by go into cooking yam and stew, porridge, and more.

2. Write a Restaurant Business Plan

A restaurant business plan is very important in Nigeria especially if you are planning to go into restaurant business in Nigeria on a large scale level. Writing a restaurant business plan in Nigeria lets you know all the intricacies involved in opening a restaurant business.

For example; a good restaurant business plan lets you know how much capital you will need to start your restaurant business in Nigeria, it lets you know the equipment you will need and how you are going to sell your food to increase sales in your food business. Read our article on how to write business plans in Nigeria.

3. Get the Capital Needed

Capital is very important when it comes to starting a restaurant business in Nigeria because there are things you need to buy to keep the business going and things you need to satisfy your customers. You will need capital to rent a shop, buy cooking equipment, buy furniture, and then buy electronics. All these are important even if you will buy them in small quantities.

To start a restaurant business in Lagos, Nigeria in particular you need will a capital of N700,000 to N1M. Although it depends on the area in Lagos, the capital is still enough as long as you only spend on the major things you need to make the business thrive. All you need is to sit down and prioritize your needs. Go for an optional solution to replace mandatory needs.

For Example: Going for fans instead of Air conditioners, tokunbo electronics instead of new, and much more.

4. Register your Business Name

Getting all the proper documents needed to start a restaurant business in Nigeria is very important. You do not want you or your staff to be harassed all in the name of you not having some permits. This could drag your restaurant business into the mud. Remember you are trying to build a brand here.

So you have to get all the proper documents for your restaurant business. Some of these documents may include business registration from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), permits from your state government, and permits from your local governments. These documents may take from 1 month – 2 months so the earlier you start processing them the better.

You can outsource this registration to a CAC agent if you know you do not want to stress yourself visiting the CAC and the local government in your area regularly or hire us to do this for you.

5. Rent a Shop for your Bukka Business

Renting a shop where you can display your food for customers to come in and buy is very important in a restaurant business. However, if you cannot rent a shop due to some reason, you can rent space instead. You need this, especially for customers that will be coming in to buy food and stay to eat. These customers need enough space to relax and eat their food.

How much you rent a shop in Nigeria for your restaurant business depends on many factors. Some of these factors are the area, the state you want the restaurant to be in Nigeria, the capital you have, and how big you want the restaurant to be.

To rent a shop for your restaurant business, you need to put one major thing in mind and that is making sure the restaurant is in a populated area – a place where thousands of Nigerians pass every day and can easily come in to buy food from you. With this, you can easily make profits from your restaurant business without doing much to attract customers.

6. Buy your Cooking Equipment

In starting a restaurant business in Nigeria there are 3 major things you need to buy. These three things especially cooking equipment are important because they will make your cooking easy and fast. So I have all these equipment above. It is not a must to buy all these cooking equipment, electronics, or furniture.

You can simply buy the ones that are the most important for now and as time goes by buy the rest. You can also buy second-hand of these equipment for now if you cannot really afford the new ones. After getting the equipment you will need the services of a carpenter, and electrician to install the equipment at the right places in your shop.

7. Start Selling your Food

When it is time to start sales, especially on the first day do not cook too much just in case many customers don’t come around, cook as little as possible. If the food finishes and there’s a need to cook more based on demand, you can now cook more. It is better to have a food shortage than to have food waste when it comes to running a restaurant business in Nigeria.

The shortage will make you plan ahead while the waste will make you run at a loss. Another way to increase sales in your restaurant business in Nigeria is to advertise and deliver your food to customers in your area. This is very important in 21st-century business.

8. Profits in Restaurant Business

There are different ways to increase sales and increase profits in your restaurant business. Some of which I listed below.

A. Do Online Adverts

Doing online adverts, especially on social media websites like Instagram and Facebook can be very profitable when it comes to a restaurant business. It does not only inform people about your restaurant business, but it also encourages them to come in and buy from you.

B. Do Food Deliveries

Doing deliveries can also increase your sales because it assists lazy customers that cannot come in to buy your foods to order online and get their foods delivered to their doorsteps.

9. Risk in Restaurant Business

Operating a restaurant in Nigeria can be very demanding – from making sure your food tastes great, you also need to be able to give good customer service. We also have you been worried about your worker either stealing your food or stealing your money. However, you do not need to worry much about all these as you will be able to find solutions to them in no time. The most important thing here is for you to start.

Food Truck Business in Nigeria

As for the food truck business in Nigeria, you do not need to rent a shop or space all you need is a food truck to cook your food and sell it at any location. To get this truck if you are really considering starting a food truck business in Nigeria you can either buy the truck already made or get a welder to build it for you.

Yes, there are welders in Nigeria that can build a good food truck to your taste.


The restaurant business can be a generational business – lasting for generations to come if you get it right from the beginning. Thanks for reading this article. I hope you were able to learn one or two from it. Please drop your comments if there’s any part of the article I missed.


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Ralph Bamigboye is an Accountant. He is the owner of, and Finance Naija YouTube Channel. He has helped many individuals to start their businesses and make money online. How can he help you?

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