Founder, Biscuit Bone Blog & ‘TOASTIES’
113 Awolowo Rd, Ikoyi / 43C Akin Adesola, Victoria Island
@buscuitboneblog / 0908 016 1647
Eka is a vibrant young entrepreneur who discovered her love for cooking while watching cooking shows in school. After graduation in 2011, she went to a culinary school and got trained in classic French cuisine, after which she worked in a restaurant in Spain for a while in the kitchen and acquired intense and amazing experiences.
Can you pleases introduce yourself and tell us about your background and your brand
My name is Eka. I studied Journalism.
I discovered my love for cooking while in school, watching cooking shows. After graduation in 2011, I went to a culinary school and got trained in classic French cuisine, after which I worked in a restaurant in Spain for 6 months, where I was the only female in the kitchen. The experience was intense and amazing. I gained a lot of experiences working in the Michelin Star restaurant.
In the early days I started a food blog ‘my Biscuit-Bone blog‘. while i worked in New York for a television show. I remember watching a show about a famous chef, pretty much deconstructing and rethinking a dish. From there, I got the idea of putting tribe in a sandwich. My concept at that point was to have an “African Fusion Fast casual restaurant”.
When I moved back to Nigeria in 2015, I started researching on what to do. Fortunately, that was the same year EatDrinkLagos had their first festival and we were part of it. We took some sandwiches and we sold out. The experience, the feedback encouraged me to push forward.
Starting days for business including funding?
We started with a small outlet on Bank Road, Ikoyi, in 2016. The location was very small and was funded from my savings. We only had 2 sandwiches; the tribe and the chicken. We eventually moved out of our first location, and got an outlet in VI, and later one in Ikoyi, as well.
I funded the expansion with all of my savings, funds from family, friends and a financial grant given by Access bank initiative to help women in business.
When did your ‘aha’ moment come that you thought ‘I can do this’ …
From doing extensive research and feedback from pop ups, I was convinced this is the way to go!
Can you describe your typical work day?
In the beginning, I was the accountant, chef, driver and shopper; I wore many hats. Later on, I got a cashier and a cook. I’m in a new territory as my role has evolved with the growth of the business. Presently, we have 2 locations so there is a lot more that needs to be done. However, I have a competent team that takes some load off me. But basically, my work day now focuses more on strategizing, marketing, business development and more.
What steps have you taken to make sure your brand remains relevant and competitive in market place?
I have learnt to delegate and not micromanage. I have also put a lot of energy on social media and my blog as well; educating, informing customers on our brand, our activities and operations.
Where do you see the brand in 5 yrs- 10yrs?
I’d love to have outlets in Ikeja, Lekki and Abuja.
Can you give us the most challenging experiences you have had?
Organizing my team to follow company standards and be consistent with it was quite challenging. Challenges are part of the game however, but learning to be patient has really helped. Some days are fantastic and encouraging, other days you are wondering if you made the right decision.
What is the worst entrepreneurial moment you ever had and how did you recover?
I had this customer that needed 50 sandwiches, and we had no power supply at the time, so we had to toast 50 sandwiches on burner stove.
There was another time we had a huge order in our first location and we had to improvise as the general generator set wasn’t working. As a result, we couldn’t use all our equipment, the whole place was a mess and that was the exact time the health department came in for inspection and that just threw the operations upside down. I cried that day because we delivered the food late and the customer was pissed.
Why do you think most food entrepreneurs fail in their businesses?
A lot of people fail because they don’t have patience to really wait and let the business grow organically. Some people think success will just come overnight but that’s not the case. One needs to do a lot of research to understand the complexities of this industry, as the needed information is not readily available from the government.
- Some other people reduce quality to improve profit,
- Fail to organize staff training frequently, and
- Fail to request feedback from customers.
All of these may result in business failure in the long run.
How do you treat recipes and intellectual properties?
Can’t really be focused on that; I believe my team should be well trained and vast in the operations. If you plan to scale, it may be tough to still have a protective view on recipes. I try not to focus on someone coming to copy or steal my recipe rather on my brand, as well as, training my staff to emulate our quality standards and traditions.
What advice would you give your young self?
Set goals! Have a vision and don’t wind it up. Be committed to your ideas and have a business structure.
What piece of business advice would you give someone starting up?
- I would say do good research, ask questions, and be very patient.
- Always be present and hands-on to see that things are done well.
- Put an efficient system in place and train your staff.
- Spend your time studying and researching to develop your mind mostly on what you want to do.
I was formally at bank road with no power, but now I’m here at Awolowo road, Ikoyi; not quitting but growing.
Recommendation / Resourceful Books
I like books by Tony Robbins
School of life on YouTube
Dani Johnson’s First Steps to Wealth
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hills
Earl Nightingale Books
- Set goals! Have a vision and don’t wind it up
- Be Patient! – let the business grow organically
- In the beginning, I was the accountant, chef, driver and shopper
- Learn to delegate and not micromanage
- Be committed to your ideas and have a business structure.