C.E.O Grills In-&-Out, founder Cocktails In-&-Out and Co-founder Grills Mall
7a, Admiralty Road, Off Admiralty Way (Road Beside Forte Oil) Lekki 1 /1 Kindia Close, Off Adetokunbo Ademola, Wuse 2. Abuja.
@grillsinandout / +234 818 992 0321
Olufunke Awobokun is the Chief Mixologist of Cocktails In and Out Limited (CIO) and CEO Grills In and Out Limited, a company that has steadily carved a niche for itself in the industry and grown to become a pace and trend setter in Grills and mobile cocktail bar services pioneered in 2005 with branches in Lagos & Abuja.
Olufunke Awobokun is a mixologist and restauranteur. She is the founder, initiator and pioneer of the project “Cocktails 2 Live 4” and is also the brain behind the Tasters club which is a networking event aimed at promoting and enlightening the Nigerian consumers about the fine art of mixology and generally promoting the cocktail culture. In 2008, she became a certified mixologist and bartender from the Shaker Bar School (South Africa) – (https://www.linkedin.com/in/funke-awobokun-49967b7/)
Can you pleases introduce yourself and tell us about your background –
My name is Funke Awobokun. I am a lawyer, married with 3 kids. I am an entrepreneur driven with a strong passion within the hospitality industry.
I consider myself to be a foodie, and I really love to cook and it all made sense to build businesses in this industry.I am very passionate about learning and I am always pushing myself to be more skilled and knowledgeable in this business. I have earned a few certifications and taken a few professional courses in this industry
15 years ago, I started a mobile cocktail business in lagos and this eventually led the creation of Grills in and out and cocktails in and out in Lagos and also Abuja.
Starting days for business including funding?
I am an advocate of starting small and growing fast. At the time, there was no huge savings to start this business I had to sell my car to start the Mobile Catering business .My husband and I believed in the business and we decided this was the right thing to do. The business grew organically and we expanded even when we moved to Abuja, it is still functioning successfully in lagos.
7 years after Cocktails In and Out, I recalled I was at a party and saw a food caterer spread and I felt like this was something we could also do. I personally felt it was the next progression of the brand and it was at this point Grills In and Out was opened.
When did your aha! Moment come that you thought ‘I can do this’…
Well that was when I attended an Entrepreneurship course at Lagos Business School . Phones were not allowed in the lecture halls, The idea of not having my phones active meant I was potentially not accessible to customers and this bothered me. On this particular day I had 10 missed calls from customers. I called them all back and we got the jobs. This told me our brand position was strong and we had a committed and loyal customer base.
Can you describe your typical work day?
O my God! As a mother. I tell people it’s a lot of work and sacrifice to go into hospitality business. My Mondays to Thursdays I dedicate to the Grills In-&-Out, Thursdays to Sunday is for Cocktail In-&-Out
What steps have you taken to make sure your brand remains relevant and competitive in market place?
My focus is on our mission , core value and putting out a unified message. I stay innovative, regularly mining useful information, maintaining good business structure, well trained staff, and good ambience at all our locations. Our location in lekki has also evolved to incorporate other business partner It is now a Grill mall where we have a partner that offers unique grills as well.
Where do you see the brand in 5yrs- 10yrs?
Taking one step at a time – looking at franchising our own way. I am very good at adapting to my environment, I’m hoping that in the nearest feature, our businesses will be in major cities in Nigeria
Can you give us the most challenging experiences you have had?
Manpower! Staffing has been my most challenging experience. Being able to get people that see the vision and picture it the way you see it. Most staff don’t care about the job but only what they will get before they leave. Staff with no passion for the industry can kill your business.
Doing business in Nigeria is generally challenging, it is a tough terrain and one will get humbled quickly as sometimes our assumptions and optimism don’t always pen out.
Why do you think most food entrepreneurs fail in their businesses?
Not doing their homework. You ought to be quite knowledgeable at whatever business you want to venture into. Talk to people in that kind of business. Also, save for the raining days from the little revenue you get out of the business, don’t get carried away and have a vision of where you wish to be.
Well regarding starting the business, you need to have a good idea of what business you are going into and you should seek advice from persons already in the same line of business.
How do you treat recipes and intellectual properties?
we have a non disclosure agreement our staff sign, we have what we don’t disclose. But really anything can happen though. I tell myself that even if you have my recipe, you are not me. I also know that it’s not the recipe that keeps the business moving , its beyond the food; everything has to be in place for the business to be successful.
What advice would you give to Intending Restaurateurs?
I keep telling people to acquire knowledge in businesses you want to engage in. You must be disciplined with money so you can save and grow. Once you commit, there is no going back. So one needs be sure of what he or she wants to do with respect to restaurant industry be known for a brand you stand for.
Blue Ocean Strategy
- Research before you engage
- Be knowledgeable in whatever business you want to venture into
- Talk to people in that kind of business
- Save for the raining days from the little revenue you get out of business, don’t get carried away and have a vision of where you want to be
- Staff with no passion for the industry could kill your business.