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On this edition of Entrepreneur Of The Week, Oreoluwa Okuboyejo, CEO and Head Chef of LEGACY KITCHEN

Discusses the food industry in Nigeria,

why you need a mouthwatering meal from his gourmet restaurant

and how to stand out amongst the sea of restauranteurs within the seemingly populated food business sector.

What inspired you to venture into the food business?
Oreoluwa Okuboyejo: All through out the Summer of 2017, close friends would stop by at my house after work for late lunch/dinner. A friend suggested I should start a food business. At that time, I was into full time Music Production. Therefore, it took me a year to perfect my Shawarma recipe which turned out to become our maiden product.
The brand was first known as Legacy Grill. What caused the switch to Legacy Kitchen?
The name switch was God inspired and I just followed the leading of the Holy Spirit when our product range extended beyond grills to fine cuisine.
In Nigeria, the food industry is massive but highly competitive. What will distinguish Legacy Kitchen from your Competitors.
Yes indeed it is a highly saturated market and on a daily basis new food businesses are birthed. Our unique focus is to prioritize customer satisfaction over revenue maximization.
Although most businesses tend to maximize revenue at all cost, we prefer to be customer focused with customer satisfaction as our measure of success.
Over the last 3 years, we have created a business model that accommodates customer’s opinions and feedback. This way, we are always on top of our game. The quality of our dishes keep people coming back and most people say we have the best Shawarmas in Africa. We have adopted the American standard of hospitality. We don’t argue with Clients but we are swift to listen to what Clients have to say, in order to address their needs. This way, we have been able to retain our Clients who out of their satisfaction have become our ‘Marketers’ by word of mouth which inevitably is healthy for business growth.
What should Nigerians expect from the Legacy Kitchen cuisine?
OO: Expect nothing short of quality assurance and customer satisfaction. Our motto is “Gourmet to your door Step”. Our ultimate goal is to promote a Legacy of “#EatLegacy” which will become a house hold concept for lovers of fine cuisine laced in cultural spices.
What are the factors that have kept you pushing and breaking new grounds as an entrepreneur?
OO: The strive for perfection in what I do and positive feedback from our clients has kept me going.
Sometime last year I met the biggest food critic in Nigeria; his name is Opeyemi Famakin and ever since he tasted Legacy Grill, he became a friend of the house.
He introduced us to other key food bloggers like Adetoun Oluwapelumi & Uju from Restaurant critic and many more.
I look back and I am grateful to God for how far we have come. We may not be where we ought to be but we are certainly not where we used to be.  
My Mom has played a very big role in this business especially with her God given talent in cooking. My siblings as well as my close friends have also contributed to our creative designing.
Pastor Tony Rapu, my Pastor and mentor has also been a source of encouragement to me in my journey to excellence.
What was one of the most challenging times you’ve faced since starting Legacy Kitchen and how did you rise above? 
OO: Re- branding from a Grill house to Gourmet.
Re-Branding has not been a walk in the park but we are getting used to it now. We are redefining the concept of Gourmet by offering dishes that are infused with various cultural varieties that are complementary to each other. We have continued to retain our previous clientele, while trying to attract new clients. Marketing these products have not been easy but we are grateful for every order we have received since our rebranding to Legacy Kitchen.
We are the first restaurant to create the dish called ‘Oreos in puff puff batter with cream Anglaise”. Feedback: it is amazing and it is becoming a popular order here.
What factors would you say, impede the success of food businesses in Nigeria leading to short-lived glory.
OO:  Poor quality control and product consistency, with the absence of a  “wow factor” in either the presentation, mode of service, food menu and drink menu. Most businesses just follow trends without understanding how their brand is portrayed. I’ve seen businesses get comfortable and miss the whole point of why they got into the business in the first instance. Whilst I pray for the grace never to be comfortable or satisfied with the status quo, we are constantly on our toes to innovate and strive for perfection in exploring new frontiers. Don’t get me wrong, I know it is hard for a business to work efficiently in Nigeria due to our work etiquette and peculiar business environment, We just have to rise above our challenges so that uncompromising service is delivered.
Has the “new norm” in Nigeria, (caused by the Covid-19 pandemic) affected your business in any way and if so, how?
OO: My generation certainly hasn’t experienced anything as traumatic as Covid-19 before. So it came as a shock to everyone. When the lockdown started, I had to downsize since Resturants were locked down. Little did I know God was bringing me into a new season. I’ll gladly testify to the glory of God that demand tripled in the first 2 months. The rebrand was God inspired. Question: What advice would you give to any aspiring entrepreneur in the Nigerian culinary industry about pursuing their business goals and dreams? (Especially in these trying times) Answer: My foundation was built on accepting the presence of a higher power, which is God. I also have a strong support system from my family & close friends. I believe in the concept of starting small and growing big. Don’t be in a hurry to make profit. Rather work on building a reputation without cutting corners. Good company facilitates good decisions. Always seek wisdom and do not hesitate to ask for advice. Do your research on the product you want to market, and speak to others in the industry if need be.
What is one piece of advice you wish you’d gotten prior to embarking on the culinary entrepreneurial journey?
OO: Despite having a degree in Economics from the University of Houston, Texas, I wish I had taken entrepreneurship courses centered around business in this part of the world. To rise above your struggles in Nigeria, it is not an easy task but not insurmountable.. It’s better to grow gradually over time than to experience sudden growth which can be short lived. Everytime you figure out the solution to a problem, other problems will crop up. Be ready and have a “can do” attitude. That being said, You should imbibe the principle of more innovative ideas and networking experiences. Change is constant, so don’t stop learning.
What do you envision for the future of Legacy Kitchen and what should customers expect?
OO: We are focused on infusing various cultural ways of cooking into our dishes. For example, the Katsu Curry is a Japanese Curry but my version of the dish is one to try. I infused the use of Asian spices, French Curry, Lebanese herbs and Nigerian pepper to give it a unique taste.
It is not far fetched from what the original katsu is supposed to taste like but there is a twist to it.
So our customers should expect these fusion gourmet dishes and a listening ear that turns feedback and. a great customer service experience into good results.

Legacy Kitchen is a gourmet kitchen that is infusing various cultural ways of cooking into local Nigerian dishes. Follow the link to discover mouth watering dishes you ca order straight to your home due to the Covid causing a temporary restaurant closure.

See Also: We were at the official launch party for Afrocentric Restaurant: ILE EROS 

By: Joan K. Vincent-Otiono

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