The Association of Fast-Food Confectioners of Nigeria (AFFCON), has stated that Nigeria’s organized fast-food industry is estimated at N250 billion ($602.5 million), and has been growing at a 10% annual rate in recent years.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, it was revealed that the market is characterized by both local and international franchising models, while it continues to expand and evolve.
The statement further explained that Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) in Nigeria, also known as fast-food restaurants, have come a long way, adding that since the first QSRs launched in the 1960s, under UAC Nigeria Plc, as little stands selling snacks, they have since evolved, “in 1973, they expanded under the name Kingsway Rendezvous, and Nigeria opened its doors wide to other QSR players.”
The Managing Director of Freddy Hirsch Nigeria and West Africa, Kojo Brifo, in the statement said QSRs provide a wide range of fast-food options, including regional and international cuisines, stating that the food service establishment serves food and beverages quickly and efficiently, often with minimal table service.
It was observed that since its incorporation in 1999, Food Concepts Plc (operators of Chicken Republic) have dominated the Nigerian market.
It hinted that food concepts operates Nigeria’s Chicken Republic, PieXpress, and The Chop Box franchise.
It remarked that Chicken Republic, which is Food Concepts’ major outlet, produces various meals and snacks, including its flagship spiced chicken meals, with 200 outlets spread across Nigeria and Ghana, “Chicken Republic has plans to operate 430 stores by the end of 2024.”
According to the statement, “A few of the multinational QSR brands, such as Domino’s Pizza, KFC, and Pizza Hut, have a presence in Nigeria and have aided in the development of the nation’s QSR market. Many local QSRs such as Bukka Hut, Kilimanjaro, Foodies, The Place, Sweet Sensations, Mega Chicken, Tantalizers, Chicking and Crunchies have grown and provide various food choices to match the requirements and preferences of the diverse consumer base.
The statement averred that increased urbanization, a growing working class, adoption of digital innovation, and changing consumer lifestyles have been identified as key factors driving sustainability and growth in the country’s QSR sector, adding that other drivers include Nigeria’s booming tourism and hospitality sector, technology adoption, and increasing demand for new flavors.
It maintained that as key Nigerian cities swell with a growing middle class, and Gen Z and millennials – unique demographic groups with different palates, tastes, and inclinations to eat out – new opportunities open up for QSR owners to provide differentiated offerings for these booming customer markets.
Brifo said: “The COVID-19 outbreak also had a significant impact on the industry, forcing restaurants to adjust to stay-at-home orders, create new menu items that could be delivered, and provide more options for consumers to take their food to go. The need for quick-service restaurants, or QSRs, increased as a result of this transformation. However, despite its robust growth rate and the projections that the market will continue to expand, QSRs, just like other industries in Nigeria, are confronted with myriads of business challenges, such as stiff competition, ensuring service uniformity and consistency across branches, supply chain vulnerabilities, and other operational challenges.
“QSR operators in Nigeria can benefit from innovation and developments to fulfill the demands and preferences of their customers as the restaurant industry is undergoing constant change. Technological advancements and social considerations have a significant impact on many trends and innovations. The fundamental point is to keep the business operating and flexible enough to continue winning customers.
“In terms of technological trends, restaurants in Nigeria are now more frequently implementing payment methods that make it simple for clients to make payments using Point of Sale (PoS) systems. This improves accessibility, and convenience and helps QSRs to align with existing cashless policies.
“From a pricing and affordability standpoint, food vendors are introducing new packages to fit broad budgets. For example, we have seen Chicken Republic introduce a package consisting of rice and eggs with sauce at a pocket-friendly price, helping millions of Nigerians have access to food at a cheap price. Domino’s Pizza did the same thing with its new chicken and jollof rice menu and the Mexican burrito (Nigerian version).
“To improve their menus, QSRs need innovation around their offerings and customized solutions that are tailored to the unique palates and experiences of their customers. Thanks to culture, and cuisine, and bolstered by improved earning power, Nigerian customers today are developing new tastes and inclinations to eat out and this provides an opportunity for quick-service restaurants.
“Interestingly, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered people to pay close attention to their health and nutritional needs. The health food segment got a boost with the proliferation of products ranging from salads to parfaits to wraps among others. Other food operators also introduced different meal segments, with new flavors and spices. For example, the Ginger flavor became an important spice because of its anti-oxidizing power to prevent stress and damage to the body’s DNA makeup.
“Every QSR must prioritize consistency and quality if it wants to succeed in the long run. Customers can expect the same level of consistent, high-quality service each time they enter a restaurant. This boosts consumer confidence in the brand and may greatly affect the entire enterprise.
“It all comes down to a few things, such as the caliber of the food, the atmosphere, the experience, and the customer service, which are what keep customers loyal to a particular brand of the restaurant. A poor eating experience at a similar sort of restaurant impacts the brand.
“Naturally, tastes are the most important factor for customers when deciding whether to visit a particular restaurant. To spice up the taste of the food for customers, the quality of the tastes and seasonings is essential. As a food vendor, creating delectable dishes involves a grasp of taste and what consumers will enjoy and buy. Additionally, it is practically necessary to provide good customer service. Any restaurant’s reputation is enhanced through consistency in interactions with consumers, which promotes trust.”
The statement revealed that interestingly, most of the uniquely African tastes that are found in sauces, marinades, breadings, rice seasonings, pasta seasonings, noodle seasonings, soups and bouillon seasonings are carefully created and preserved by Freddy Hirsch Nigeria and Symrise.
It stated that Freddy Hirsch Nigeria and Symrise AG are undoubtedly two of the biggest players in the food and beverage market in Nigeria, adding that both businesses have been successful in establishing themselves as the major drivers of food and beverage development.
“The Freddy Hirsch and Symrise AG partnership is a marriage between a leading West African flavor manufacturer with local insights and a key player in the global flavor market, respectively. Together, we can deliver effective solutions and improve taste perception that helps QSR operators to differentiate their offerings, create new innovative food options with consistent flavors, and enhance profitability. Our collaboration also helps to ensure deep market penetration in West Africa and harnesses our joint flavor technology platforms to deliver authentic African flavors and enhancers.
“Freddy Hirsch provides customizable seasoning and savory solutions, for QSRs, buoyed by its team of expert food scientists. Freddy Hirsch has also invested in a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, Research, Development, and Application laboratory and extensive networks that enable it to derive authentic insights from customers, understand consumer trends and meet the unique taste preferences of the regional market and develop robust and competitive QSR solutions in culinary, bakery, confectionery, and dairy. These solutions are boullion seasoning (curry powder, chicken seasoning, beef classic, seafood seasoning); desserts and bakery (Bread, cake, and doughnut premixes); marinades (Spicy chicken marinade, Barbeque marinade, shawarma marinade); breadings (suya breading and chilli breading, jollof breading); burger spices (chicken and beef seasoning) and Pie filling (chicken, beef and seafood seasoning).
“At our flavor manufacturing facility, we strive to provide the highest quality customizable seasoning and savory solutions to our quick-service restaurant customers. To ensure that we deliver the highest quality products, we source the best raw materials from reliable and trustworthy suppliers. We have a wide network of suppliers that are certified and meet our strict quality standards. We also have our own quality assurance team that inspects and tests all incoming raw materials to ensure that they meet our strict quality requirements. We also use advanced technologies to detect any impurities or contaminants that could affect the quality of the finished product.
“Freddy Hirsch is committed to providing QSRs with a variety of advantages that can help them attract and retain customers, such as customization (custom-made flavors that can be tailored to specifications and preferences); innovation (research and new flavor development); health and well-being (high quality, good-for-you products that are both delicious and nutritious); and simplicity (easy-to-use solutions). We also ensure that customers enjoy a multisensorial experience (creating unique and memorable experiences that are convenient, safe, and of high quality. Freddy Hirsch’s seasonings serve as a building block for these operators and the entire retail value chain, with implications on cost, speed to market, delivery, consumer preferences, and profitability. African cuisine continues to quest for authenticity, with consumers looking for unique tastes, created from the complexity of naturally sourced local herbs and spices that produce intense flavors,” the statement said.