Inside the Hustle: From dealing with the Police to 'Omoniles', here is what it takes to run a food truck in Lagos, Nigeria

  • In the first episode of our new show — “Inside the Hustle”, we chat with Bolarinwa Kamson, the CEO of Urban Fusion.
  • He tells us how he quit his job to start one of Nigeria’s first food trucks.
  • We also go behind the scenes in the video below.

Here at Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa, we are very passionate about our business ecosystem that's why we have created a new show called “Inside the Hustle.”

The show takes us behind the scenes of Nigerians rising against the odds to make ends meet. The first episode features Bolarinwa Kamson, the CEO of Urban Fusion.

He tells us why he quit his job to create one of Nigeria’s first food truck for the streets of Lagos, Nigeria.

Quitting his job to start his own thing

To be honest I didn't really love my job at the time and I wanted to work for myself, I wanted to open my own business. The idea came to mind and I ran with it. I love food a lot. I love to cook. I'm an entrepreneur at heart so I'm going to take any profitable opportunity I see to make money or to provide a service for people.”

Sourcing for funding 

“I did my financial model and I saw that it was a business that was viable and profitable so I put a business plan together and went to look for funding. I made phone calls to family, went to Bank of Industry (BOI), went to different places and was able to get capital from investors and then ended up putting up some of my own money and just started it.”

What it takes to run a food truck in Lagos, Nigeria

This was something I noticed wasn't really in Nigeria at the time. There were no other food trucks around and I thought to myself, ‘why not take that risk?’ In terms of sourcing for the ingredients, we have different suppliers for different types of products and we import some of the things we can't get here.”

Dealing with challenges faced so far

“Business in itself is challenging anywhere in the world but I think it's more challenging in Nigeria because of the deficiencies in our infrastructure and the entire workplace even when it comes to employees, training, maintaining quality standard.

"You also have the challenges of dealing with a mobile restaurant which is something different. Sometimes you have Police disturbing you, you have the Omoniles (Yoruba word for 'owners of the land or son of the soil') disturbing you. Once you understand the terrain, you can kind of overcome them.

“Another major challenge has been competition. There is food everywhere — the suya guy down the road, the guy selling shawarma, even the fancy restaurant — is all competition for us. It's a highly competitive market but it's been worthwhile. I wouldn't change it for anything.”

Location location location

“We are outside the clubs at night till 5 am, there is nobody else really doing that. We have our standard locations during the week.”

Expansion plans

“We are not on the mainland yet but that's our next stop. From there, maybe Abuja or Port Harcourt who knows.”

*This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.


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