…insights from entrepreneurs in the food industry in Nigeria

Ep 82- Using Covid as a Catalyst to grow your business – Chef Ette


Chef Ette may be one of the most popular Grill Masters in Nigeria, he understands the power of brand associations and media leveraging. From catering to celebrities, to Big Brother Naija, to Governors, to judging shows, you can say he has done it all. When Covid hit as with most entrepreneurs in this space his business took a major hit. Covid became a catalyst for him to build his bigger dream. He has successfully transitioned into a brick and mortar Restaurant and he shares his experience on how he did it.

This his second time on the show.


Today we have Chef Ette Assam who is a chef and  mixologist of 8tte’s Barbecue and cocktails.

” I just discovered that this world we just try to impress people who don’t care about us and if you have a vision and you have somewhere to go your present financial level will not take you there because you have to put extra to it.”

He has been opportune to cater for the popular TV reality show ‘ Big brother Naija Season 5’. He has also been opportune to cater for people internationally and locally. Likes of Wyclef, Fat Joe, Akon and a few. In Nigeria he has been opportune to cater for Davido’s record label, governors and more. Just after an event ( Street food reality show) held in Lagos in which he was one of the judges .

Like most people in the hospitality industry Covid  significantly affected his businesses, from multiple bookings for events to  0 in a matter of days.  Most entrepreneurs scrambled to keep their business going . Ette was able to birth a restaurant through this crisis.

They came up with the idea of a pop up store in Calabar because they had a target market and want their customers to feel at home so they made the place conducive for them. They also noticed a lot of restaurants were closing down due to the pandemic so they approached them to buy off some of their equipment.  They calculated how much brand new equipment would have cost them and realized it would cost them nothing less than 7.5 million naira but they ended up getting those items for less than 900 hundred thousand naira.

Many businesses don’t actually fund the kind of lifestyle a lot of people are living. To set up a business properly in Nigeria is expensive and one needs to have a good saving culture to maintain and improve one’s standard. If you can’t get to your customers fast you are almost going to loose that battle all the time. If you don’t  have good numbers to run your operation you will run into cash flow problems. A lot of businesses are open but not making money.

Take way points :

1. Have a good saving culture as it helps and works for you when you least expect.

2. Invest in the right employees in key positions.

3. Always collect your  customer’s  data.

4. Catering is not an everyday money making business.

5. You can make the most out of a time of crisis.

6. Put in extra touches your competitors are not putting in.

7. Have strategic measures to reduce theft.

8. Improve your inventory system

Time Stamps


[00:00:28] Intro.
[00:00:44] Guest intro.
[00:02:48] COVID and its impact.
[00:18:28] Saving culture.
[00:32:20] biggest learning curve encountered.
[00:58:23] The Menu.
[01:11:55] Transition.
[01:13:30] Outro

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