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How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise - Business - Nairaland

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How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nobody: 6:15am On Jul 06, 2016
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part discussion with Promise Oghor on NextNaijaEntrepreneur.com. He tells us why he left his job with a bank to become a caterer, what has driven him to succeed and what sets him apart in the catering business. The second part is more of a practical discussion about how anyone can start and manage a successful catering business. I hope this inspires you to create something and prosper.

My name is Promise Oghor, I’m from Delta state. I studied Mathematics/ Economics at the University of Benin and graduated in 2001. By the grace of God, I’m the CEO/Chef at Boundless PICK Ltd. We offer professional catering services for all outdoor/indoor events and occasions of all sizes and shapes.

STARTING A CATERING BUSINESS…

After my graduation, I got a job with a bank and was posted to Awka, in 2005. I worked till November 2010 when I resigned as a cash officer. I resigned because my wife and I worked in the same bank. One of us had to resign so I chose to leave because I’m the more skilled person, I like to work with my hands. It would be easier for me to start up something…

WHY WAS IT A PROBLEM WORKING IN THE SAME BANK WITH YOUR WIFE?

It is the bank policy that a couple cannot be in the same bank to mitigate fraud, though we were in different departments. For malicious people, it would be very easy, and even tempting, to rob/defraud the bank. So you understand how that could be a problem. I left the banking job in 2010 and opened my catering business.

WHY CATERING? WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GO INTO THE CATERING BUSINESS?

I love cooking. I just love it. It is one passion I have. That was why it was easy for me to decide on becoming a caterer. Cooking is something I do for fun. Even when I was with the bank or in school, I used to invite my friends over to my house and I would cook for them. That was even how I wooed some girls back then (laughs). It’s a part of me. I cooked my own food while I was in school because it was cheaper, richer and more delicious. I would tell my mom sometimes to leave the kitchen and I would cook for the house. It’s a passion.

When I left the bank, like every Nigerian, I had so many things in my mind I wanted to do. One of the first options I had at the time was MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) but it was not sustainable. Let’s tell ourselves the truth a lot of things are not sustainable in Nigeria, and I talked to myself and said I cannot be helping somebody else make money. A lot of people would say it’s a plan B but that was not a plan B for me because over time, you get jaded – you get fed up when the money is not coming. When your down-liners don’t perform, what do you do?

Again, I love fashion. There were so many things I would love to do if I knew how to sew. I went to a lot of fashion designers here and told them I wanted to learn. They were like: you? Learn? I said, ”yes, I want to learn. Forget about my appearance and style and everything, I want to learn how to sew” You know the problem with most Nigerians is we are too proud to do a lot of things. My salary at the bank then was good but I was willing to set aside everything and learn. That was my mindset at the time. Problem was, none of them wanted to teach me.

There had to be something I could do without spending an insane amount of money and that was why I started a catering business. My passion for cooking just made it easier and more fun. Catering funds itself. You want me to cook for you, you give me money and I cook. I didn’t need millions to start. My wife was shy at first (laughs) because she felt I should start big. However, I believe in little beginnings. She has been very supportive since she saw the prospect in food business.

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT AT FIRST AND WHAT WERE SOME CHALLENGES YOU FACED?

The first job I got was from a friend of mine. He was skeptical at first but I said, “Give me a try…try me.” So he gave me the job and I executed it perfectly. I cooked rice. He gave ukwa (bread fruit) and bitterleaf soup to someone else because he was afraid I couldn’t do it. Funny enough, when people ate the rice and asked who cooked it, he said I was the one who did everything (laughs) because it was amazing. I started telling people gradually, child dedication, birthdays, and that was how my business kicked off.

I lost a lot of jobs because of experience and uncertain market factors. I experimented a lot. For instance, I did a job once and the bag of rice I bought didn’t turn out nice. So I lost that job. There were lots of challenges but I was never daunted. I kept moving.

THERE ARE LOTS OF CATERING BUSINESSES AROUND. WHAT SETS YOUR APART FROM THE REST?

One of the things I work on, which we don’t do often in Nigeria is this: everybody cooks, some people cook better than I do, frankly. What a lot of caterers lack is timeliness and service. Those are the key areas I work on seriously.

Timeliness in the sense that my clients don’t get to the venue before me. It never happens. I don’t like it when people call me on the phone to know where I am. If you tell me 12, I want to be there 11. I never disappoint my clients because of time.

Service in the sense that we don’t rush. We don’t serve people food with dirty or oily plates and say people are rushing. We don’t rush. We must take our time and clean the plates. Even if heaven is falling on top of earth, we serve people with dignity. We dignify service. You are not serving dogs. But in Nigeria, most people don’t care. They eat anything and say it doesn’t matter. It matters a lot to me. When I get to a venue, I dictate the pace of my service. I tell my clients these things. I take time to explain to them and they are happier after the events.

SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THE WOMAN SHOULD BE THE COOK. DO YOU AGREE? AND HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR ROLES AS A HUSBAND, FATHER AND CATERER?

The idea that a woman’s place is in the kitchen is just the mentality of our fathers, the world has evolved very much. If you watch food channels, most of the cooks are men. If you go to big restaurants, men are chefs. You’ll only see a few women. Even before I traveled, I used to cook to for my wife. Why can’t I cook for my wife? Till tomorrow, sometimes I make lunch, package it and send to my wife in her office. It spices up our marriage like nothing I’ve ever seen. We are too rigid as a people in Nigeria. A lot of people hold on to some outdated tradition and that is why we find it difficult to move forward. Till today, my mom still asks me: I hope you cook for your wife? She knows I do it willingly. Those things make marriage very interesting. I’m very proud of what I do and I do it with so much zest. I don’t care who is looking at me.

On balancing the home front, my jobs gives me enough time to spend with my family. Sometimes I have hectic weekends but other times, I have enough time. So it’s not a problem. I enjoy it. I have an understanding with my wife and she’s beginning to appreciate it. She assists when she has the time to do so and we have a great time together. It has been wonderful having a supportive wife and I appreciate her for it. We understand each other. I don’t see cooking for her as anything. Even while we were still dating, I used to cook for her. It’s just fun.

LOOKING BACK FROM WHERE YOU STARTED, HOW MUCH HAVE YOU GROWN?


My growth has been steady. I’m not rushing a lot of things. I went for a culinary course in South Africa and returned last year. I’m yet to decide which aspect of catering I want to settle on – the food part or the pastry part. I love pastry. In school, I had beautiful times in my pastry classes. I like the smell of baked food coming out of the oven. But one of the problems I have is that baking equipment are very expensive. My idea of a kitchen is way beyond what we are used to in Nigeria. It’s difficult introducing the concept I would like in Nigeria. But my growth so far has been steady and God has been faithful.

Editor’s Note: This concludes the first part of the interview. I hope you enjoyed it. In the second part of the interview, Promise gives a detailed guide on exactly how to start a lucrative catering business. You are learning from the master!

Source: http://www.nextnaijaentrepreneur.com/started-catering-business/

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41 Likes 4 Shares

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by citimartmag: 5:59am On Jul 08, 2016
This is wonderful interview. The guy is doing well obviously. Thanks @op

27 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nobody: 3:01pm On Jul 08, 2016
citimartmag:
This is wonderful interview. The guy is doing well obviously. Thanks @op

thank you. Thank you very much.

Read more entrepreneur interviews here: http://www.nextnaijaentrepreneur.com/stories/

Learn how to start bean flour production: http://www.nextnaijaentrepreneur.com/bean-flour-production

6 Likes 2 Shares

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by dotcomnamename: 4:29pm On Mar 10, 2017
I am just shaking my head for the mods of this section. This is the type of thread that deserve front page that can encourage young nigerians that are still waiting for office jobs. But if the topic was about Davido invest 2 million dollars in a lady's bra, Don jazzy buy £1 wrist watch, Kenya couple glue together while doing it, Hyip scams, D'banj sign Tonto dike, 20million naira fell from tree and more useless topics, you'll see them all in front page. If you tell them the truth they will want to show they're on top of the world because they're mods, they will ban you or warn you. Only few mods are reasonable with wisdom. I just hope Seun will look into this. Smh.

144 Likes 6 Shares

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by dont8(m): 5:27pm On Mar 10, 2017
The guy has really done well for himself obviously and I'm happy for him.

This definitely should grace front page to serve as inspiration to our youths on self sustainability.

Cc: Lalasticlala

6 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nobody: 11:20am On Mar 11, 2017
grin grin grin grin

And now everyone is a caterer...

5 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nobody: 11:20am On Mar 11, 2017
God help me,i luv this jare....

3 Likes 1 Share

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by kittykollinxx(m): 11:20am On Mar 11, 2017
this should be an eye opener for people that will come to lament on nairaland how they av been looking for job since Adam. engage your thinking faculty better and make ursef proud

7 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by bumi10(m): 11:21am On Mar 11, 2017
nice
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by DollarAngel(m): 11:21am On Mar 11, 2017
I tap into your Blessings, God answer my call too

3 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nobody: 11:21am On Mar 11, 2017
Wow, success proceeds passion. This is a clear indicator that, education is not in papers, but content of the mind.

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by kinibigdeal(m): 11:22am On Mar 11, 2017
Meaning he dumped his degree for trade....

2 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by NokiaN8(m): 11:22am On Mar 11, 2017
that is positive change.. youth, go after a handwork today, be positive and u get to the top.. leave govt jobs, soon they wuld recognise u and u wuld make it by God 's grace...

3 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by abdul24(m): 11:23am On Mar 11, 2017
Nice one
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by NokiaN8(m): 11:23am On Mar 11, 2017
that is positive change.. youth, go after a handwork today, be positive and u get to the top.. leave govt jobs, soon they wuld recognise u and u wuld make it
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by princeonx: 11:23am On Mar 11, 2017
You transitioned oga!

After all you invested the same bank salaries into the business.

Dumped like say you work there for free or at gun point.

2 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by montezz(f): 11:24am On Mar 11, 2017
Wow!
If you feel like there's something out there that you're supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it. Not everyone will work with a corporate organization. Naija bad naija bad.... People are still making it big.

BTW,I don't know why I find men that cooks attractive.

4 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by emeijeh(m): 11:24am On Mar 11, 2017
Thank God for your fulfilled life.

...... I pray we all find fulfilment in our lives

2 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nnemuka(f): 11:24am On Mar 11, 2017
deflover mecussey oya oo come and see your fellow man handling the kitchen as a married man.
and you think the wife enters kitchen? she definitely handles za oza room and improves her skills.

Pls God answer my prayer and send me a man who is good in the kitchen and i will take over the bedroom.
Amen

3 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by okwyee(m): 11:25am On Mar 11, 2017
front page since 2016??
but we constantly see some stupid BBnaija and the rest there everyday... inspiring ones like this would just die off but for resonable people that dig em back up like the guy that did this one...
nice one op.. you're inspiring.

4 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by joey150(m): 11:26am On Mar 11, 2017
princeonx:
You transitioned oga!

After all you invested the same bank salaries into the business.

Dumped like say you work there for free or at gun point.

Same thing i thought..

For every one person that makes it... 10 failed..

Some people will follow in his footsteps and them go hear am.

Still on still...follow your dreams and not another man's success story.

2 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Stevoohlicent(m): 11:26am On Mar 11, 2017
thank God for ur like .....inspirational shitt...
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by damton(m): 11:26am On Mar 11, 2017
Inspiring if I should say
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by SuperBlack: 11:26am On Mar 11, 2017
Weldon Boss. I hope you were not among the axed Bank Drivers.
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Ibime(m): 11:27am On Mar 11, 2017
He's just like me, a Maths with Econs graduate who enjoys cooking.

But I'm a bit disappointed with the interview. No numbers or statistics were given to quantify his growth or whether the catering business is more profitable than the bank job etc. Infact, going by the tone of the interview, it seems he is yet to find his feet in the new business.

3 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by PoisonedOne: 11:28am On Mar 11, 2017
DollarAngel:
I tap into your Blessings, God answer my call too
Be tapping into people's blessings no go start your own. grin grin

5 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by torres89: 11:28am On Mar 11, 2017
lots to learn from
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by madridguy(m): 11:28am On Mar 11, 2017
Following...

1 Like

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Nobody: 11:28am On Mar 11, 2017
I hate it when men do women's job, they are never good at it. Imagine a man doing catering, na waa. That's low. He should man up.

1 Like

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Pavore9: 11:29am On Mar 11, 2017
While some men see cooking as demeaning, others are creating opportunities with it.

2 Likes

Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Segadem(m): 11:30am On Mar 11, 2017
cheesy
Re: How I Started My Successful Catering Business - Oghor Promise by Segadem(m): 11:30am On Mar 11, 2017
Pavore9:
While some men see cooking as demeaning, others are creating opportunities with it.
everyone has a great idea runs in their vision but the capital to embark on it is the issue

2 Likes

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