How to Start a Restaurant Business in Nigeria: Complete Guide 2024

  • October 1, 2023

One of the most lucrative food business ideas in Nigeria is the restaurant business. This business is massively profitable and easy to start especially for those whose hobby is cooking.

The food restaurant business can be started by anyone regardless of location in Nigeria, and it can be started both on a small scale or a large scale depending on how you want to operate.

Starting a food restaurant business is not only great for those who are passionate about cooking, but also for entrepreneurs looking for a source of daily income. While it is easy to get started, you need to know all the steps required to make the business a success.

That is why we’ve come up with the post to show you exactly how to start a restaurant business in Nigeria. That’s not all, but you’ll also discover several different restaurant business ideas you can start, the cost of starting, profits to expect, and so on.

Are you ready for all that? Let’s go then!

Starting a Restaurant Business in Nigeria

Restaurant business simply means setting up a hygienic place where you’ll be selling all kinds of food. This business is very popular in all parts of the country, as it is fast-moving.

That is because everybody needs food to survive. And an average Nigerian does eat outside in at least a restaurant on a daily basis, as that’s the fastest way to get their belly filled, especially for lunch. This makes the food restaurant business in Nigeria a good source of daily income.

Whether you’re a male or female, you can set up a restaurant anywhere in Nigeria and drive lots of sales. Although setting up a good-looking place for your restaurant is the most popular way people start this business, there are lots of restaurant business ideas in Nigeria. Check them out below.

Related: Most Profitable Food Business Ideas to Start and Make Money in Nigeria

Restaurant Business Ideas in Nigeria

You can start a restaurant business in Nigeria using different approaches including.

Regular Restaurant

Opening a regular restaurant is the most popular of all, and the one that will first come to your mind while looking to start a restaurant business in Nigeria.

This restaurant business idea involves serving already prepared food and drinks to customers. It requires you to set up a good-looking and clean shop, hire staff, and get some expensive materials to get started. As your restaurant becomes popular over time, you’ll start getting lots of sales which means lots of profits.

Cook-On-Demand Restaurant

Restaurant Business in Nigeria

Cook-on-demand is relatively a new restaurant business idea in Nigeria. This involves taking orders for a specific type of food, preparing it, and getting it delivered to your customers.

This restaurant business idea is starting to gain ground, especially in Lagos, as there are lots of young entrepreneurs starting it up. The profit of a cook-on-demand restaurant is insane, as you can sell a plate of food for 3,000 Naira whereas all it takes you to prepare is just 700 Naira.

This restaurant business model is very easy as it can be started even from the comfort of your kitchen, and it can be started all alone.

Read Also: How to Start a Frozen Food Business in Nigeria with Small Capital

Mama Put Restaurant

Also known as a food canteen, mama put is just like a regular restaurant, although you don’t need to spend much in terms of setting up your shop. In fact, you can run your food canteen all alone by yourself.

This restaurant business idea also involves serving already prepared food. Food kiosks are popular in motor parks and school areas (usually primary and secondary).

Food Truck Restaurant

Restaurant Business in Nigeria

The food truck business idea is some of the most popular restaurant business ideas in Nigeria, as it is practiced in almost every state and city across the country.

It can also be referred to as a mobile food vending business, as it involves selling already prepared food to customers usually on the street.

This business can be started using a van or trailer, but realistically in Nigeria, it is commonly done using a wheelbarrow. You can often find this type of restaurant at bus stops, in busy areas (e.g Oshodi, Lagos), and marketplaces (e.g Aba market, Abia).

See Also: How to Start a Foodstuff Business and Make Money in Nigeria

Is Restaurant Business Profitable?

Yes, the restaurant business is very profitable in Nigeria, as it is a good source of daily income that could make you tens if not hundreds of thousands of naira every day.

This business is profitable due to the continuous increase in demand for food by many Nigerians. Although the profitability depends on your mode of operation, and also your location.

Of course, you can start a restaurant anywhere in the country, but it is more profitable in areas where foodstuffs are cheap. Also, some restaurant business ideas are more profitable than others.

For example, it could take you tens of sales to make N5000 profits from a mama put restaurant, whereas just two sales could get you such profit starting a cook-on-demand restaurant, or about five sales from a regular restaurant. Although, a regular restaurant and mama put moves faster than cook-on-demand.

Check Out: 33 of The Most Profitable Business in Nigeria Right Now

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Food Restaurant Business in Nigeria?

Restaurant business is very easy to start as it only requires cooking skills. Once you’re a good cook, you can start. However, how much will you need to start?

From buying the materials and equipment needed to get different kinds of foodstuffs and ingredients needed to prepare meals, as well as drinks to be served with meals, there’s a lot of investment to be made upfront to start a restaurant business in Nigeria.

Depending on the restaurant business idea you wish to go with, on a small scale, realistically it would cost you at least 100,000 Naira to start. While on a large scale such as a restaurant, you would need millions of Naira to set up a standard restaurant in Nigeria.

Related: 31 Smart Businesses to Start with 200K and Make Millions in Nigeria

How to Start a Restaurant Business in Nigeria

1. Decide on The Restaurant Business Idea to Start

Deciding your mode of operation is the first step in starting a restaurant business in Nigeria. Here, you want to choose whether you’ll be starting as a regular restaurant, a buka, catering, or a cook-on-demand restaurant. Doing this you need to keep in mind the demographics you want to target.

For example, if you’re living in a commerce area where daily business activities go on or an area where schools are, it will be best to settle for a mama-put restaurant or start with a food truck.

With good networking skills, you should be able to run a successful cook-on-demand business. Also make sure that your decision is based on your capital, as the cost of starting a restaurant business may vary based on location and type.

2. Acquire the Needed Skills

After deciding your m9de of operation, the next thing is to acquire the needed skill. Cooking skill is the major skill needed to operate a restaurant business in Nigeria.

However, depending on the type of restaurant you want to start, you may need more skills like networking, marketing, and so on. You can enroll in a catering school to learn how to make food for sale, and also how to set up a restaurant business.

Check Out: How to Start an Egg Supply Business in Nigeria and Make Money

3. Come Up With a Simple Business Plan

Based on your niche or mode of operation, you need to create a realistic business plan to work with. It is not necessary to draft the best business plan in the world, you can just make a simple one, but make sure it’s detailed and on point.

In your business plan, you need to account for both the short-term and long-term goals of your business including growth strategy, and financial projection.

While drafting your business plan, you need to carry out a little competitor research, know where they are lagging, and include the strategies that will help you do better than them.

More so, you need to point out who your customers are, and how to serve them better. Finally, in your business plan, outline a creative team management strategy to get the best out of your employees for the success of the business.

4. Arrange for Startup Capital

To start a restaurant business in Nigeria, you need to invest in a lot of things including the materials and equipment needed, as well as the foodstuff and ingredients required for cooking. Depending on the type of restaurant, you’ll need to account for employees’ salaries. Although this is usually after starting.

While most of the money is needed before starting, you need to find a way of raising the capital for your business. This can be achieved through personal savings, bank loans, loans from friends and family, business partnerships, or seeking venture capitalists.

5. Find a Suitable Location for a Restaurant

Regardless of the type, For a food restaurant business to succeed in Nigeria, you need to be strategic in planning a location for your shop.

You need to keep in mind the type of people in the area, how busy and hygienic the area is, and also watch out for competition. You cannot sit a restaurant in GRA and expect the most sales, as people living in such places are families with housewives who will always prepare food for them.

The best locations for your food restaurant business in Nigeria depend on your mode of operation. For food trucks and mama put, marketplaces and bus stops are ideal, while you can start anywhere offering a cook-on-demand service.

More so, you can sit a regular restaurant on a street. Just make sure it is on the roadside and can be easily located by potential customers.

Related: How to Start Okrika Business in Nigeria

6. Get All The Needed Equipment

Restaurant Business in Nigeria

The main things you need to start a restaurant business in Nigeria are the required types of equipment (cooking wares), as well as the foodstuffs and ingredients for cooking.

Usually, the equipment is general and they include gas cookers, pots, plates, tables, chairs, and so on. However, when it comes to the foodstuff and ingredients, they are niche specific.

That means the foodstuff and ingredients to arrange for should be based on the type of food you want to be selling. Make sure you buy those ingredients in small quantities as you’re just starting. This is because most foodstuffs and ingredients can’t stay long before they spoil.

7. Register Your Business (If Required)

Although not necessary, if you want to operate a standard restaurant, you’ll need to register your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Also, you need to do some research if there’s any association of restaurants or food sellers in your area to join, so as not to get disturbed after getting started.

8. Employ Staff

Even if it is someone that will help you watch plates, you would have to employ workers to help you with some aspects of the business.

In this step, you need to make sure the person you hire understands the business. Also, make sure your employees are able to meet not only your expectations but most importantly treat customers well.

9. Get Started and Get Working

With everything from step one to eight now in place, the next thing is to get started by cooking, packaging, and serving customers. Remember that customers really matter, so make sure you’re offering a satisfactory service.

As part of starting, you’ll need a strategic customer acquisition plan. This can be done by promoting your business and letting people know that there’s a new restaurant in town.

Here are some tips on how to promote your food restaurant in Nigeria.

  • Brand your business by creating banners to let people know what your business is all about.
  • Design your shop to describe your business.
  • Encourage friends, family, and neighbours to help in advertising your business through word of mouth.
  • Build brand awareness by visiting schools, firms, and even homes in your area and telling them about your business.
  • For a start, offer discounts, and also make your food look good, tasty, and most importantly, cheaper than your competitors.
  • Create an online presence for your business.

Equipment needed to start a restaurant in Nigeria

The equipment needed to start a restaurant in Nigeria includes:

  • Pots
  • Gas Cooker
  • Plates
  • Spoons
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Cooler
  • Microwave
  • Electric Cooker
  • Fridge
  • Spatula
  • Fans
  • Blender
  • Trays
  • Benches
  • Takeaways

Food Restaurant Business – FAQs

Which type of restaurant is most profitable?

In terms of profit margin per sale, the cook-on-demand restaurant is the most profitable type of restaurant in Nigeria. While in terms of sales a regular restaurant is more profitable, as it moves faster.

How do I start a mini restaurant?

You can start a mini restaurant in Nigeria by simply getting the needed skill, finding a shop, getting the needed equipment and ingredients for cooking, and getting started.

What do restaurants sell in Nigeria?

Nigerian restaurants sell white and jollof rice, amala, eba, pounded yam, semo, fufu (akpu), beans, yam, etc. All these are usually served with different types of soup, fish, and neat including goat meat, ponmo, brokoto, chicken, bush meat, and so on.


The food restaurant business is very profitable, and an ideal business for those who love cooking, as it allows you to make money from what you like doing. With this post on how to start a restaurant business in Nigeria, I believe you’ve gotten all you need to get started.