Do you plan on starting a fast food restaurant? Do you know how to run a fast food business? Fast food doesn’t have to be deep-fried chicken or high-calorie burgers; you can offer healthy, convenient food too. You can make this business successful by refining your operations. And promoting a unique brand or providing a service that stands you out from other joints.
There is a huge business potential for fast food in Nigeria. As we grow our urban centres, the demand for instant food increases as well. Now that both husbands and wives need to work to provide the needs of the family, there is less time for cooking home meals. And food is the number one priority of the human race. Man must ‘wack’.
Also, many families cannot afford quality meals regularly. So, they sometimes make up for this lack by going out to eat sumptuous meals from a fast food restaurant nearby. And most especially families eat out during special occasions and holidays like Christmas, Easter, Sallah and birthdays.
But fast food can also be a quick, easy and cost-effective way to feed the family. And most modern fast food restaurants offer a selection of healthy choices with their menu. Fast food is usually based on traditional dishes, cooked using production line techniques to cut preparation time and cost.
Wikipedia describes the fast food as a type of mass-produced food designed for commercial resale and with a strong priority placed on “speed of service” versus other relevant factors involved in culinary science.
That means fast food is an original commercial food business idea. With a defined service structure that caters to its target market. Among the target customers for fast food are busy commuters, travellers and salary workers. And it meets their needs for instant food to save them time from having to wait for meals.
That’s where it derived its name from – by making the speed of service the priority. This ensures that customers with limited time were not inconvenienced and made to wait for their food to be cooked on the spot, like in a traditional restaurant. But today’s fast food restaurants also cater to lovebirds, lunch meetings, family gathering, and birthday receptions, etcetera.
Even though a vast variety of food can be cooked fast, fast food restaurants stand out. It may be a drive-through, stand or kiosk and may offer no shelter or seating. The idea is a quick service food restaurant.
How Fast Food Restaurant Works
The Nigerian Association of fast food and confectionaries confirmed that the economy of the country grows by more N200 billion generated in the fast food industry. With over N1 billion paid in taxes and levies by owners.
In Nigeria, it is fast replacing the favourite food ‘bukka’. When Tantalizer’s launched its fast-food brand, it became a haven for lovers. It’s almost impossible for a guy not to take his girlfriend there occasionally.
However, the fast food restaurant focuses on making a large amount of food. It’s a concept that makes fast food affordable and available to eat, unlike the traditional restaurant.
It also maintains the taste of each of its menu, making customers come back for the same delicious taste. And the process is also simplified. McDonald’s streamlined this process with its burger.
See features below:
*A huge grill where one person could cook lots of burgers simultaneously
* A dressing station where many workers added the same condiments to every burger
* A fryer where one person made french fries
* A soda fountain and milkshake machine for desserts and beverages
* A counter where customers placed and received their orders
Basic Features of a Fast Food Business
Even though there are different restaurant brands in the fast food industry, they pretty much work the same. You can almost think they have the same management. Especially if it’s the same restaurant from the same brand. They are the same everywhere. You can’t tell the difference.
- When you visit one of them and go inside, you almost always place your order and collect your food at a counter
- When you drive through, you place your order at a speaker or a window, and someone hands it to you through a window
- The food arrives individually wrapped and in a bag or on a tray
- You can eat most of the food without using a knife or fork
- The food is relatively inexpensive
- Individual restaurants in the same chain physically resemble or are identical to one another
- When you visit different restaurants from the same chain, the menu and food are pretty much the same
Different Types of Fast Food
You need to know what food is listed in the fast food menu. Although in Nigeria the list is much more extensive with local cuisine now on the menu. But I’m leaving that out of this list. It’s worth exploring if you are building a local or personal restaurant brand. If you are buying a franchise, it may not be inclusive. Most successful franchise brands are from America, Asia and Europe.
And here is their food menu list:
- Hot dog
- Fried chicken
- Soft drink
- Onion ring
Fast Food Franchise Cost
Instead of starting out from scratch and creating your own fast food restaurant, you can buy into a franchise brand. It’s probably the quickest way to start a fast food restaurant business without the business knowledge. You get the franchisor full cover, brand and training, which is invaluable.
I subscribe wholly to the fast food franchise business. It can also be cost-effective in the long run. And it eliminates trial and error, with a significant brand association and probably already existing customer base.
However, it requires large capital to finance. An average estimate could be around N25 million. But KFC franchise brand cost much more, at around N45 million. And on top of that, there is also a monthly franchise fee of around 12 per cent of gross sales.
Some of these figures are also subject to dollar exchange rate fluctuate and franchise rate update. And if you are considering buying into a foreign fast food restaurant franchise, you may consider visiting Franchise Direct.
Major Global Restaurant Brands
- Taco Bell
- Pizza Hut
Fast Food Restaurant Near Me
I have a list of fast food restaurants near me. Some of the restaurant brands have several outlets. But I’m just looking at the ones near me. So, I have picked those I have been to form part of the near me Restaurants.
You also need to take a clue from this concept. A near me brand will attract those around it. You should investigate the restaurants near you before choosing the right location. Sometimes it’s safer to locate your fast food restaurant in the same area as competing brands.
It saves you from guessing the right place to set up near your target customers. Or even thinking of the best place that is easily accessible by most target customers. If you find two or three major restaurant brands in a particular location, that’s probably the best location for your restaurant as well.
Here are my near me restaurants list:
· KFC, Ikeja City Mall, Alausa
· Sweet Sensation, Opebi Road, Ikeja.
· Mr Biggs, Diya St, Gbagada. …
· Domino’s Pizza, Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba.
· Chicken Republic, Akoka Road, Yaba.
· Tantalizers, Allen Avenue.
· Tastee Fried Chicken, Oyin Jolayemi St, VI.
· Mega kitchen
· Steers Burger
· Fuud, Ajose Adeogun St, VI
· Urban Fuxion Food Truck, Lekki Phase 1
Action Points for Fast Food Business
Now let’s look at what can make your fast food restaurant stand out in the competition. It boils down to three main factors. Remember that the idea behind fast food business still remains SPEED! It’s still your number one strategy.
However, the other two factors are equally of high relevance. You must build a brand and a family of workers with great welfare package. If you play well on these three actionable points, your restaurant will stand out and compete favourably against the competition.
Step One: Dare to Be Different
Your fast food restaurant has to stand out. Apart from the idea that you are opening right close to your competitors, the food must be the main focus of your branding strategy. If you study the major fast food brands, you will notice that the menu is their highest selling point.
Once you stand out with a great food menu, then everything else will become easier. I know that in Nigeria most of the brands focus more on varieties than specialities. But in the US, the battle is in specialisation. What would make a customer eat at your joint than that of your competitor? Think on these things.
Also, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is another crucial factor. You must know what you are advancing and encouraging your customers to believe about your brand. That should be the experience you give every time, and the value customers get when they come to eat.
Step Two: Deliver Fast Services
You don’t need anyone to explain this one to you. The fast-food industry is selling SPEED as its core service proposition. You can’t afford to fail in this one. In fact, you should thrive for faster food delivery.
And that starts with creating menu and processes that are faster to prepare and deliver within minutes. The fact that customers would queue up at the counter waiting for their food should spur you into faster ways to deliver. Especially during festive periods when there are more customers are eating out and demanding a better quality of service.
That may need having a pull of casual workforce you can deploy from time to time during the festive and busy sales period. If your restaurant is within a city that has a university, you can create a pull of employable workforce.
Step Three: Take Care of Your Employees
Note that a casual workforce is not to replace your core staff. You must have a reliable team. In the food industry, a mistake is taste may cost your brand customers. And to keep up that taste may need keeping the workforce that is accustomed to that taste delivery.
You should create a happy environment. Encourage creativity and look into staff welfare by building a family structure they can rely on. And most importantly, you must reward hard work. The workers must see that their efforts are not overlooked. Any little thing to encourage workers should all be in consideration and continuously hyped.
The current demand for fast food is a far cry compared to what is ahead. The cultural system of the country is gradually giving way for the westernised eating culture. Now more people eat at restaurants than before. And in the future, more Nigerians will eat breakfast, lunch and dinners at fast food restaurants on a regular basis.
The potential of the fast food business is bigger than imagined. Even as the demand for food is insatiable. Hunger is the greatest challenge of people. No matter how busy you might be, food is non-negotiable.
You can learn all you need about running a fast food business, starting from this guide. I have given you the right foundation to begin your journey into the lucrative fast food business.
However, the fast food industry also relies on offering convenient, reasonably priced food. Your restaurants brand should convey to new customers what your business and food are all about.