Etinosa Omoregie and Peter Banigo, both graduates of the University of Port Harcourt, grew up in Port Harcourt (PH), a city overflowing with plantain and fish. This was the start of their encounter with roasted plantain, also called ‘Bole’.
Anybody who lives in the Niger Delta region can attest to the fact that a meal of well roasted plantain and fried fish with a spicy tomatoes and onions sauce is considered lunch well served and these two young men decided to take advantage of that by launching a restaurant in the central area of the garden city of Port Harcourt called Bole King.
Bole King is one of Port Harcourt’s most successful startups. The outfit caters to hundreds of Port Harcourt residents who have a profound love for roasted delicacies and is looking to expand its operations. They exploited an opportunity with a good strategic fit between the market and the customers. But how exactly do you successfully sell roasted plantain and fish for ₦2900?
- Make things nicer: The co-founders identified the need for a conducive environment to eat these delicacies and for customers’ satisfaction with reference to the cooking facilities and tidiness. Simply put, they created a service that provided bole and fish deliciously prepared and served in a clean environment, considering the fact that this is literally, a staple street food.
- Innovate to differentiate: It is innovation when you take a product that is readily available and introduce it into a new market. At Bole King, customers can get spiced croaker with their plantains and not just the regular ‘iced fish’, like it or not, it is innovation. Sometimes, when searching for new opportunities you just need to tweak the existing options to recreate something new. This could be anything from offering a warranty to creating add-on services/products like home delivery, which they also do.
- Be consistent: Every time you go to Bole King, the meal is consistently good, no awkward changes; No too much salt or too little pepper today and the reverse tomorrow, it is always good and their customers enjoy this. We all like surprises but we also love assurance, always bear this in mind in business and your customers will most likely be loyal.
- Brand! Brand!! Brand!!!:This cannot be forgotten, craft your brand identity and celebrate it. Storytelling is one of the key ways of keeping your brand alive and fresh in the minds of consumers. With this you need to think long term, maybe 5 years at least, this would allow for better planning and goal setting. Bole King, could not have chosen a better name and their business goals fit with the whole identity created, from offering deliveries to event catering to the most beautiful restaurant layout, everything seems to fit well together.
- Interact with your customers: In this sweet age of social media, businesses have the opportunity to engage with their customers at better, faster and cheaper. Try to find the right balance and roll with it, don’t be defensive and too needy. Bole King is really vying for the throne as the king of roasted plantain in PH. Check out Bole King on twitter for some of its customer interactions.
In summary, do not struggle to create something completely new, no wheel reinvention required, think of new ways innovate in existing markets. Considering that every single industry/market in Nigeria is under-served, even sachet water needs some innovation if we look closely enough, research new but existing options in other markets and then think adaptation. Ask questions and experiment, who knows, you could just be the next Bole King.