Alhaja Muinat Odebiyi is the CEO of ABIKS Ofada Kitchen situated at Kola, along AIT road, Alagbado, Lagos. Four years ago, she ventured into Ofada rice business with just N50,000, cooking for her community alone, but now her business has grown bigger and now worth N400,000, with four staff working for her. Not only that, she’s also stepped up from that community cook she was known to be, to becoming a more popular chef who now cooks for the crème de la crème of the society, which includes former President Olusegun Obasanjo. She has also won two different awards for her good services.
How did she do it? What was the magic behind her growth? She answered all these questions and some others in this interview with us. Enjoy the excerpts:
Please tell us when and how you started your Ofada rice business…
I started my Ofada rice business four years ago with just N50,000. Then I rented a shop and also bought a few Derica of Ofada rice, bought pepper, meats and oil and other ingredients for its stew. I also employed two people to support me and I was paying them N500 each daily.
Looking at the amount you started with, don’t you think the amount was too small?
I know it was small, but I had to start doing something then for myself, so I had to start from somewhere. What I did was to rent a small shop that took half of the capital and used the remaining for the purchase of the food items.
Let’s say I want to start the business now, what and what can I do with N50,000?
First thing you need to do is to get a conducive location where people can eat. And secondly you go for the real Ofada rice because there are many types of Ofada rice in the market, but cooking the original will give you an edge. After that you need to get pepper and oil, meat and other ingredients. And then you need the right staff to work with.
If I may ask, what makes Abiks Ofada rice to be different from others?
Firstly, my stew is different from others because I always ensure it’s topnotch. Many people manage ingredients when they are cooking because they want to make more profits, but I don’t do that. I cook as if I am cooking for my family.
Two is that I also take my time out to handpick all the stones in the Ofada rice before cooking them, which many don’t do. I believe in quality not quantity.
Apart from operating from your kitchen here, do you also cook at parties?
Yeah. I cook for companies, schools and at Owambe parties. I have them many. I cook for Obasanjo farms; even Baba Obasanjo has tasted my food and also my big daddy, Ayo Aderinwale, Just Rite boss, who also doubles as Baba Obasanjo’s right-hand man has also had a taste of our Ofada rice.
Lastly, what will you tell your fellow women out there who also want to venture into business but are afraid?
I will like to advise women to try and do something on their own and become financially independent and also learn to support their family. I’m a mother of three and my husband is doing his best, but I thought of how I can also support him and that’s why I started Abiks Ofada rice. I will advise women to start something today too, even if it is small and gradually with patience, endurance, tolerance and God, they will succeed. And lastly, while starting, they must strive to be different from others, put effort to look different.