@samanthasbistro / 0908 195 8531 / @bbqbistrogh
She has dabbled in photography and fashion, etc. People tell you to stick to what you know or studied, but she believes that the knowledge from whatever uni degree you have will help you on your journey as an entrepreneur. She tells us how happy she is, knowing her experiences in other backgrounds have helped her in building the Samantha’s brand.
Podcast Key Notes
Can you pleases introduce yourself and tell us about your background: –
My name is Dumebi Samantha Agbakoba, I am the chef owner of Samantha’s Bistro and we have a few more brands people don’t really know about. The Lush bakery is the sister brand which is basically the brand that bakes all our breads and houses the gourmet burgers. I studied Business Administration with an I.T background and, earlier in school, I studied Italian Language. I like making food and entertaining people. My cooking started while I was in college. I have dabbled into some other things like photography, fashion, I mean different things and I am happy that my experiences in other backgrounds have helped me in building the Samantha’s brand – in marketing; branding, packaging, etc. (Listen to the podcast to learn how she built many other brands around Samantha’s bistro)
What’s your staff strength?
At the beginning we were over staffed (about 50 plus) and now that we are at the right level we have about 15 staff. My staff are quite good because we train them to become what we want irrespective of their previous work experiences and qualifications. (Listen to learn how to hire the required staff and to groom them)
Do you have any formal training as a chef?
I think it’s my God’s given talent. I can make up recipes in my head. I think uniquely that’s just my own gift. But going on, I went to Italy – and I did a course and there, I also worked in a restaurant where I was the only black African lady in the kitchen full of Italian men. So, it was really fantastic and a great experience and I learnt a lot of Italian cooking and their language.
Starting day of business and funding?
It was my personal fund then, my family and friends supported. I think most people don’t understand the implications of wrong funding and that’s the reason why most restaurants open up in December and by March or end of the following year, they close up – they think that it’s about just making quick cash.
Where do you see you brand in the next 5yrs?
I have thought of all these things – cooking shows and stuffs. But you know what; I would say to myself if not for the glamour, I would definitely say, I would just want to remain consistent and continuing pushing boundaries. Just continuing to be an inspiration to other generations with what we are doing.
What piece of advice can you give someone starting up?
- “Business is not for everybody” so, I will tell them that if their heart and soul is not in it, they shouldn’t even bother.
- You have to do what you have to do to make the business work – read, research and ask questions.
- A restaurant is like an orchestra and you have to practice that song that melody constantly – because you have to think, you have to coordinate all the happenings and people, you guys have to be on the same page; you know what; it’s a lot of work.
What advice would you give your young self?
Hmm… I would say, to probably slow down. My brain doesn’t slow down; it’s my blessing but also a ……..
Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite https://archive.org/details/WhateverYouThinkThinkTheOppositeByPaulArden
I search through Google regularly for research. I read self help, being creative and time management books among others.
- “Business is not for everybody” so, if your heart and soul is not in it, you shouldn’t even bother
- Read, research and ask questions.
- Put process in place and make your staff accountable.
- Have a support system, family and friends
- Fund your business the right way
- Think long term
- understand the brand you want to build then be particular about it.