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Lagos restaurants tweak models on heat of inflation

Lagos restaurants tweak models on heat of inflation

Nigeria’s soaring inflation and high energy costs are forcing some Lagos restaurants to tweak their business models to remain afloat.

Menu downgrades, sachetisation strategy, and price discounts that call for corresponding quality/size discounts, among others, are now rampant as food price spikes are forcing consumers to change what kind of food they buy, and how much of it they can afford.

Food prices in Nigeria have risen to record levels in recent years, forcing millions of Nigerians to struggle daily to feed properly.

“Tastee Fried Chicken offers Bunma meal (a plate of fried/jollof rice and chicken) that sells for N850,” Ayobami Ajisafe, a quality control officer at the Oyin Jolayemi, Victoria Island branch of Tastee Fried Chicken in Lagos, told BusinessDay.

“Bunma Meal was introduced in September last year as a means to target customers who cannot afford our other meals. At the start, it was sold alongside a pet bottle drink as a promotion for the first 1,000 customers. Now, the package goes without the drink,” Ajisafe added.

The Place Restaurant offers a jollof/fried rice and chicken combo pack for N850. With beef, the restaurant sells it for N800, a senior cashier of the restaurant’s Ikoyi branch, said, pleading anonymity.

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In Mr Bigg’s, a plate of white rice/spaghetti, stew, and chicken wings, called the Bigg Wings Meal, sells for N650.

Tosin Badejo, a teller at a microfinance bank in Lekki, and a regular patroniser of Chicken Republic, said: “Chicken Republic’s refuel meal that allows a choice of jollof, fried rice, or spaghetti, and chicken used to sell for N900 until this month that we saw it has increased to N1,000.”

“That’s still quite affordable if you ask me,” she said.

Badejo explained that it has become increasingly difficult for her to cook before she joins a bus early in the morning since she started going to Lekki.

“My office recently moved to the Island, and since I cannot keep up with cooking, I have to stick with what’s pocket friendly since food is not something I can choose whether or not to want.”

The poverty situation has worsened, making many people not have the capacity to buy big things or packages, said Muda Yusuf, founder of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise.

Nigeria’s headline inflation rose for the fourth straight month in April, largely driven by higher food and non-alcoholic beverages costs.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the inflation rate quickened to a new 17-year high of 22.22 percent in April from 22.04 percent in March.

In April, the NBS report revealed that Nigeria’s food inflation had reached its highest level in 17 years. Most of April’s price increases were recorded in food and essential shopping.

Food inflation, which constitutes 50 percent of the inflation rate, rose to 24.61 percent in April from 24.46 percent in the previous month. The food inflation rate for April 2023 was 6.24 percent points higher compared to the rate recorded in April 2022 (18.37 percent).