Food joints in Abuja are among the most patronised retail points. It doesn’t matter what end of the market, upscale or roadside buka, nothing sells more than food in Abuja.
This is because Abuja is a hungry glutton. It is always yearning to be fed. And even amidst the cry of recession, the food business has proven to be resilient with sustained level of demand as usual.
Despite the presence of some multinational food and beverage franchises and some big time local players, new entrants are still entering the fray and doing well.
Mim’smeal is one of such new entrants. This Kaduna born Nigerlite is cooking for busy professionals and is promising to take the Arewa menu and dining experience to homes, offices in the capital city.
Aliyu Usman has been following the trails of her enterprise since she started last year and writes that the future is hers for the taking.
AMINA ISAH, CEO, Mim’smeal
Amina Isah’s Mim’smeal is a new entrant into the Abuja food industry. It has a rich list of menus created to give a diners a different tasty experience from their usual routine. Just ask for it; from soups and African dishes to continental menus.
Mim’smeal, a company she founded in 2016. It’s Chief Execitive, Amina Isah, has just concluded her national youth service and was burning with both business ideas and passion the passion to create, innovate and add value to a favourite past…time-cooking.
Amina has been passionate about cooking for a very long time. As she recalls, “I think I cooked my first even before I went to secondary school”. She credits her late father with the inspiration for cooking and now, her venture. And although this has been a long time in the offing, it took up to after youth service before she earned her first naira from cooking.
In May 2016, After due diligence Amina decided to start up her own business. She had saved up a decent amount from her pocket money with which she purchased the basic utensils she needed.
She then took a N5000 loan from her brother to operate the company and to deliver her first order. She made pepper soups, vegetable salads and soups which and created awareness about her services.
Amina’s first order was followed by a sustained enquiries and subsequent orders followed as her clients kept recommending her company to others.
By this time the business was successfully off the ground and running. It was then that she gave her trademark one line ” I have started cooking” to advertise to her services to a friend.
Despite sustained orders however, there was an initial cause for worry because the business soon racked up deficits as it was running at a loss. In her words, “we were dishing out very good food for no gain”.
She continues, ” I was worried by that, my mother too, who have been source of strength, was also worried. But I continued”.
Amina was operating from home and had to deliver orders to areas within the city that are far from her place of operation. It meant that her starting price per package of N1000 including delivery needed to reviewed.
Amina gave her all to the business. Writing menus daily and being creative about them. Her passion kept pushing her. Growing up in a middle class home, house helps and relatives did all the cooking in the house, she said. That notwithstanding, her innate passion for cooking kept her close to the Kitchen. Therefore, she said she persisted until her breakthrough came.
The perseverance paid off one day when she received an order for 170 people. A staff of one of the major financial institutions in the land was celebrating her promotion at work and was organising a reception for colleagues and friends.
At her newly reviewed price, Amina catered to the sumptuous meals ate the celebration and the rest, as they say, is now history. The links and networks built at that event was key to other inroads that she has made delivering orders and making client-diners happy.
“I have always loved to cook. My dad loved good food and that’s where my inspiration comes from. At the beginning, I just wanted to start something. I know that God will lead me”.
Mim’smeal will not rest on its oars, she told me. For us this is just the beginning. The path ahead is still longer than how how far we have travelled. That means we have a lot of hard work ahead of us.
Amina believes that God will lead her to the top of the food industry. Armed with a major in Marketing, Amina is a graduate of business administration from the British University of Egypt.
There is no gainsaying she has the competence for the kind of competition required to get to the top. As she puts it, ” my aim is to have my own restaurant. Because I feel that my talent is in the Kitchen and not in the office “.
Amina has a long range of menus available. Since she creates them herself, new twists are always in the offing. However, the usual Nigerian staples tend to be higher in demand.
Mim’smeal delivers different varieties of rice, all kinds of “swallows”, vegetable soups, red stew, vegetable salad, beverages like Zobo and varieties of fruit juice.
Mim’smeal is also targeting homes and individuals who love to have new experience. She said people would love to eat something different but cannot prepare it are her target.
She said that way she can take northern food into homes of people who may not be from the north but enjoy northern cuisine. ” The advantage i have is that people want to eat something different from what they are used to eating at home””, she added.
While doing this however, she also hopes to maintain the core of her current customer base.
The Mim’smeal brand has also been positioned to go with the current wave of social media trends and that has given it a formidable social media base. On twitter, followers can place orders and enquiries @mim’smeal and the same username goes for both Instagram and Facebook.
“We had our fair share of the challenges associated with running an enterprise. From the teething problems that an entrepreneur faces especially if you are first entrepreneur. Organising the business and taking decisions is such a daunting task”.
” Again, when our breakthrough came, for a while I struggled with my book keeping. I was spending more than I was saving. But we have since had a change of strategy ” Amina concluded.
Amina is now a wealth creator contributing to the economy through the jobs that her services create as she keeps a minimum of 3 persons engaged weekly.
Recipe for Crunchy Chicken
Boiled chicken, flour, pepper (mashed), Vegetable oil and Raw eggs.
Frying the chicken Heat the oil, but before that, first apply the mashed pepper on the chicken. Then break the raw egg and apply on the chicken. Apply the flour after that and finally fry it.
And then, voila! Your crunchy chicken is ready.