From BBQ Festivals, to the All white parties, to the Hustles and Raves back in Uni days to 11:45 club. Francis is definitely a man with loads of talents and his brand Grind Grill has done more than any other brand in lagos to promote and preach the gospel of BBQ and BBQ catering.
Francis is the Founder/Managing Director of Grind Grill Cafe Established in 2009; Grind Grill Cafe is an extension of his ‘GRIND’ brand which dates back to 1995.
Podcast Show Note
Can you tell us about yourself, your background and how long you have been in this business
So my name is Francis Ebie of Grind Grill and Grind Grill Café. Grind Grill is an outdoor business where we cater for weddings, parties and celebrations. While Grind Grill Café is a restaurant where you can come in and eat and have a good time. Grind as a brand is about 24 years.
I resigned from my 9-5 job in 2009. I started Grind Grill Café which was my passion.. In the last 2 yrs, I have partnered with other outfits in various locations to get the brand closer to people.
- People will partner with you when they see you would add value to their brand.
What do you think is important in partnership?
You need to get to a certain business level to enjoy partnership. Someone would’ve put together some good money to secure a space and they want to make as much money as possible; so they see you have something to offer and you may bring profit towards their business then, they are going to go for you.
How are you able to handle both your restaurant and event catering simultaneously?
My event business affect my restaurant in terms of running the event business out of the restaurant – we cook on-site during our event catering and you can imagine going to set up like mini kitchens for 5 different events on a Saturday; by the time you pull out from the restaurant taking out most equipment, utensils and bringing back all that; the stress involved is cumbersome despite having a team of almost 72 people. I have people braking down.
Back when you started, how many people were doing the same thing?
Well when I started I don’t remember knowing anybody doing grills. It was more of the guys doing small chops. I had to talk to most event planners to make them understand that there’s difference between grills and small chops.
What keeps you up at night regarding your business?
Well, one thing is you need to empower people if not you would hardly get time to rest. All I’m doing now is trying to work smart. I have experienced staff of 11 yrs still working with me. You need your staff to buy into your brand. It takes a lot though like your attitude and approach towards them; you just need to have people that enjoy what they are doing; people that are willing to learn.
How do you know the right time to make a new move?
Things come to me naturally and once I’m doing something and its good but everybody wants to go into that thing, I switch to another thing.
- So, carve a niche for your brand
- Have a standard for your brand and don’t do what every other person is doing just to make more money.
In the next two years where do you see your brands?
We hope to do more partnership and pop ups to expand our market and to reach more customers.
Share the biggest lesson you’ve learnt recently in your two new locations?
Well, I have gained better understanding of various markets – take for instance; our V.I location is a weekday market, whereas our location at Ogudu, mainland is a weekend market – same business, 2 locations but different markets. I have learnt how to delegate staff across the locations mostly for busy days.
What advice do you have for business owners?
If you are in event business and you are doing one event in a week, I would suggest you better look for something else to do. In a month as an event caterer, you need to be doing at least 15 events on the minimum
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Key Takeaway Points
- The biggest problem of any business is the staffing
- Fall 5 times and get up six times
- Constantly improve on your ideas and innovate on your processes
- Carve a niche and develop unique products
- Train your staff to take up more roles in your business
- While taking decisions, understand what works for you and what doesn’t
- Social media can be a problem sometimes because people just see what you are doing but they don’t know what it takes
- If you are in events catering business and you are doing one event in a week, I would suggest you better look for something else to do
- Know how to delegate
- Promote from within
- Invest heavily in the right equipment
- Make sure everything on your menu is readily available
- Don’t hire staff of another business with hope they would implement ideas from their past job
- Your next business decision will either make you or break you
- When traveling to places, pay attention and observe what they are doing; what you can adopt for your own business that fits into our environment
- Look for synergies – You can’t do it alone
- If you run your business copying others, it will catch up to you, and you must know copying means you can never lead