Delivery bikes crisscross the Garden City, most of them bearing food boxes and packs to deliver to clients in offices and homes. Bukola Adebowale, CEO of Lickilicious Mobile Kitchen says mobile kitchens are now new players in the food business in the garden city.
In an interview in her office at Rumodara area of PH, the political science graduate of the University of Benin, said food business will survive in any city in Nigeria, especially if the food entrepreneur adds unique offerings, creates a niche, and sets up a good structure.
Adebowale said she had to introduce a package she calls the affordable combo. “People can easily order and next minute, you are gifting someone an exotic food.”
There are different meals on offer which makes PH dwellers vibrate, such as rice, salad, chicken, plantain, drinks, etc, all in one pack and at an affordable rate. “Birthdays now take place every single day.”
The new crop of foodpreneurs in the Garden City look over their shoulders to know what others are doing. Lickilicious group said in the next five years, they would be stronger in meeting the demands of the clients in all aspects, and would have eatery centres to cater for those who love to walk in and sit down.
“We are doing a whole lot of creating awareness around the business. It’s one thing to set up, but another to get those who need your services to find you. That’s our focus since January 2023.”
Saying the husband is supportive, she said the environment is deliberately made green because food is associated with greens.
On the business side, she said Lickilicious is yet to fully break even, but that her business plan will surely deliver. “Breaking even as start-up is not easy. Our first two years, we were struggling. Our consolation was that so far it is food, you will make it. It is matter of time. We are about to break even.”
Adebowale said PH people prefer to cook unlike Lagosians that are always in traffic and thus prefer to buy their food. “Traffic discourages people from going to buy items and cook. In PH, there is no hold up, and markets are 20 minutes away. In Lagos, it may be over three hours, or a full day’s journey. You could spend N7,000 on transport.”
The way out for a foodpreneur like her is to create a niche for herself. “With what we are currently doing, we know we would break even.”
How Lickilicious was coined:
Adebowale the name of the mobile food kitchen was to communicate that when you are eating, you can get to the point of licking the plate. “My younger brother was eating one day and I barged into the parlour and found him licking the plate. We made jokes of it and the name dropped. That is how we coined the name.”
Bukola is the one that cooked the food. Cooking seems to be in her DNA. “It’s in my upbringing.” She admits there is no relationship between what she studied in school and her business.
She however got the key while serving at Igboetiti in Enugu State. National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members found out she was cooking very well. Soon, they would contribute funds for her to cook. Soon, she found she could put a price on her services.
Back to PH from the NYSC, she said she began to sell soup, send food to events, etc. “I noticed that people were rushing my food. I realized I had a good business in my hands by making money out of my passion.
She registered a business name and for five years, she has been pushing the brand. “My mission is to take cooking away from families so they can focus on other tasks and make more money.
“Right now, we don’t run a normal restaurant. We attend to events like wedding, traditional marriages, food trays, food gifting, unique food packages, mixed meals, food boxes. Our newest addition is the combo package which we send to loved ones on order. We have Pot-of-Soup or Pot-of-Stew, etc. We attend to those who do not have time to cook.”