How To Start A Restaurant In Nigeria


Restaurants aren’t just for people who are on the move and don’t have time to cook, they also cater to those who just want to hang out and enjoy a delicious meal.

You can find them almost anywhere you go, but that doesn’t mean the market is saturated.

If you’re planning to open a restaurant, but don’t know the exact steps to take, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down all you need to know about opening a restaurant in Nigeria.


Please note that you would need to have a business plan to show investors and yourself what your plans and strategy are in running your business going forward. Our business plan has the following sections:

  • executive summary
  • marketing strategy,
  • 3-5 years forecast,
  • returns analysis cash flow, ROI and NPV
  • payback period,
  • break-even, DCF,
  • Caps table with Waterfall and dividend table if required.

If you are interested in us writing your businessplan, send a WhatsApp message to 07064417877

Do I Need A License To Open A Restaurant In Nigeria?

With the aim of doing things the right way, yes you need a license or permit to open a restaurant in Nigeria. This can be obtained from the local government office in the area where you plan to set up. You can also get your permit from a relevant agency or the state government.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, follow these steps to start your restaurant business in Nigeria.

  1. Decide On The Delicacies You Will Specialize In

One major decision you have to make before you start your restaurant business is choosing what you will be selling. Of course, restaurants usually offer a wide variety of menus, but there are some that specialize in specific dishes.

You can choose to sell the most in-demand meals such as rice, eba, fufu (along with different types of stews and soups), or you could specialize in traditional delicacies such as Isi-ewu, Nkwobi, pepper soup, and the likes.

Both choices have their advantages.

Offering the most common meals will mean that you can cater to the demands of the majority of the public while specializing in a particular type of meal will make you one of the few go-to restaurants for such delicacies.

After you have decided on what you’ll be serving, you can proceed to the next step.

Photo by piotr szulawski on Unsplash

  1. Figure Out How Many Workers You Will Need

Running a restaurant is no easy task. You will need to go to the market, cook, serve your customers, do the dishes, and do your accounts at the end of each business day.

It will be tough to handle all these tasks alone, so you need to figure out how many helping hands you will need, and how much you will have to pay them for their services.

If you’re setting up a small restaurant, then one or two extra hands will do. Larger-sized restaurants will require more hands.

To save cost, it would be advisable you do the major tasks yourself. These include buying the foodstuff, cooking, and doing your accounts at the end of the day. Your staff can do minor tasks like serving and doing the dishes.

Being hands-on in the business will also allow you to learn the tricks of the trade.

  1. Choose The Right Location

There are probably other restaurants in the neighborhood where you plan to set up, so be careful when choosing a spot.

Don’t pick a place that’s next to another restaurant that has been there for ages. This is because the old restaurant has already won the hearts of the people around there.

This is not to say you can’t open yours on the same street as the other. You can, but make sure you’re offering something they don’t have, just to give your business a chance at surviving the competition.

If possible, set up in a street that doesn’t have any other restaurants.

You should also ensure the space you’re renting has functional amenities such as running water, electricity, etc. You wouldn’t want the stress of fixing things up when you get there.

  1. Buy The Things You Will Need

There are several items you will need to purchase for the running of your restaurant.

Below are the major ones.

  • Cooking pots
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutlery (forks, table knives, spoons)
  • Plates
  • At least one refrigerator
  • Gas cooker
  • Gas cylinder

Besides the items listed above, there are other things you need to buy such as dining chairs and tables. If you’re running a small restaurant, then plastic furniture will suffice. But if you’re opening a fancy restaurant, then you will need to buy furniture of higher quality.

Other items you need to buy include an electric fan/television/radio/air-conditioning. These are for your customers’ comfort. You should also buy take-home packs for those who wish to buy and eat their food elsewhere.

  1. Announce You Are Opening

Before you officially open your restaurant, you can put up a banner that reads “opening soon”. You can be specific with the opening date if you are sure of it.

What this does is build anticipation among passers-by. When you finally open, put up another banner that reads “Now Open”, so everyone will know you’re in business.

  1. Try And Outdo Your Competition

People are very choosy when it comes to where they eat, and you should keep this in mind when setting up your restaurant.

Study your competition and find out what they lack, then make up for it with your own setup. If the other restaurants do not have DSTV, you can install it in yours.

If your competitor’s prices are too expensive, you can make yours a bit cheaper, while maintaining the same quality of servings.

You could also do weekend specials to attract customers your way.

For instance – “free plate of pepper soup for customers who spend at least N3,000 on Saturdays between 6pm to 9pm”.

There are many other special packages you can offer your customers during weekends or festive periods. It’s up to you to figure out what they want and present it to them in an enticing package.

Another thing you can do is offer home delivery services. For this to work, it means your cooking has to be awesome first. You can add a small delivery charge for this service.


Follow these steps to start your restaurant business in Nigeria. Remember, the amount you will invest depends on the scale you want to operate.


Good luck!


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