Feature: The Story of Sweet Sensation’s Survival amid Dying Businesses in Nigeria
, Nigeria News Agency
High operating costs, lack of basic infrastructure and frequent power failures are part of factors that have done serious damage to Nigeria’s economic development, often grinding its goldmine manufacturing sector and the services industries to a halt.
This, no doubt, has led to many factories shutting operations over the past years and increasing the number of unemployed population. Some surviving out of assiduousness have, in some cases, shed the number of their staff.
The Fast Food industries otherwise, referred to as the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), are not left out in this trend as many of them, though in some cases, operating on franchise, are fast closing shops.
But amid the precarious business climate in the country, some enterprises have shown resilience, employing the art of continuity and proper planning to ensure they do not go bankrupt.
Over the years, with increase in population and changes in lifestyles of urban dwellers, many fast food outlets emerged.
While some have closed shop or operating skeletal services, many have also survived the harsh operating Nigerian business environment.
Mrs Ayo Aninbaba and Mr Tunji Kamson both Executive Directors Sweet Sensation (Centre) and some Staff at its 25th Anniversary in Lagos.
Mr Tunji Kamson, one of its Executive Directors, advising Nigerian entrepreneurs on business survival tactics, said they should remain steadfast irrespective of financial difficulties.
“It is with doggedness that a food outlet succeeds, and that brings about the success story being celebrated at the 25th Anniversary of Sweet Sensation.
“From a humble beginning as a small cake shop and opening of a small food eatery around the corner, Sweet Sensation emerged to the size it is today.
“’Taking the first step is very important for a potential entrepreneur as well as moving upward toward achieving every set goals.
“If you take the first step, people will rally round you and support you and everything will fall into place,’’ he said.
Kamson said that Sweet Sensation was also happy with its customers, especially those that started with them from their small shop up till now.
He said all the customers, trade partners and vendors were all being celebrated and were held in high esteem.
“Sweet Sensation is known for being the first outlet to feature local cuisines on the menu such as Jollof rice and indigenous stews.
“The fast food chain is also the first to have an education scholarship scheme and `Feed the Hungry Programme’ as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
For the Head of Marketing, Sweet Sensation, Mr Oluwafemi Odumuyiwa, the food conglomerate decided to reward its numerous customers with a raffle draw promo as a way of appreciating them for their patronage over the years.
“The customers, especially those from Ibara, Abeokuta, are the reason for our 25th Anniversary celebration.
“Without their continuous patronage of our food outlet, we will not be talking about our success story today.
“The Promo which kicked off on Sept. 1 and ended Oct. 31, is a way of saying thank you to all our customers,’’ he said.
He noted that the food conglomerate would also continue to exploit all avenues to ensure every of its customers’ satisfaction.
Also, an Executive Director, Mrs Ayo Anibaba, said that the 25th Anniversary celebration was customer-based.
“That is why the winners of the Promo will go home with gifts and every customer in all its outlets will be given a special treat.
“Without the customers, Sweet Sensation will not be celebrating today,’’ she said.
Mr Saka Ibrahim, one of the trade partners and Managing Director, Saka Ibrahim Nigeria Company, said his company had been supplying Fish to Sweet Sensation for the past 19 years.
“We are based in Kwara State but the company has been supplying fish to Sweet Sensation over the years.
“In terms of building relationships, Sweet Sensation has never been found wanting’’ he said.
Also, Mr Balogun Roland, Manager, Butchers and Bakers, said his company had been supplying pastries to Sweet Sensation in the last 18 years.
“It is wonderful associating with Sweet Sensation and the business relationship has kept improving over the years. It has no option than to keep on improving,’’ he said.
Mr Oseghale Okoruwa, the Regional Sales Manager, Grand Cereal, a subsidiary of UAC Plc., said that the food chain, had been in the forefront of using the best to ensure enjoyment of its customers.
According to him, Grand Cereal has been in business with Sweet Sensation since inception.
“The food conglomerate does not compromise quality and knows how to build lasting relationships. The same reason it is appreciating its customers as well as giving back to them through the 25th Anniversary Promo,’’ he said.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lady Kehinde Kamson, said that having survived the harsh operating business environment is the reason Sweet Sensation has gone out to mark its 25th Anniversary with the customers, trade partners and vendors.
She said that to mark the 25th Anniversary, 25 indigent students were added to the already 125 students under its Sweet Sensation Educational Scheme (SSEC).
She said that more people would be reached during its Feed the Hungry Programme.
“The promo is our way of rewarding customers and every customer who bought meals from N1,500 and above, in all our outlets have a chance of participating in the draw,’’ she said.
At a grand finale draw Promo anchored by MC KayCee, to pick the 19 lucky winners, the visitors, trade partners and vendors had the chance of picking seven from Ibara, Abeokuta bag, and 12 from each of the four bags allocated to Lagos.
At the end of the Promo, 19 customers emerged winners of the 25th Anniversary promo.
Mrs Beitha Ejiawoko, the winner of an Air Conditioner, the Star Prize of the Promo in Lagos, said that she was grateful as her various visits to Sweet Sensation was not for any award.
She said that God would continue to guide the management to improve on what they know best and leave a legacy for others to emulate.
Mr Olushola Saheed, the winner of a refrigerator, said that he thought it was one of those Lagos scams when he got a call that he won a refrigerator in the Sweet Sensation draw promo.
“I was encouraged by my boss to come and see if it was true. I am grateful that in the mist of all scams in town that Sweet Sensation lived up to its billings.
“I am encouraged to patronise the food outlet more now,’’ he said.
The other winners went home with micro wave, standing fans, 24 inches Televisions, Water Dispenser and Table Burner gas among others.
The draws also featured what the organisers called, “Funsation’’ games for kids and adults.
The fun games include Dance, PS4 (FIFA), Hammer Games, Flying Cars, Shooting, Snooker, Racing Games, Air Hockey, Basketball and Table Soccer.
It also featured “Come Alive Tippee’’ natural juices for happiness and health and “YardStick’’ for where you sit and order serving of your favorite dishes.
It is hoped that food chain’s 25th anniversary will enable it to continue to take the health of its customers into consideration.
**If used, pleased credit the writer as well as the Nigeria News Agency
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