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Young Entrepreneurs: Akanimoh E. Etuk and Christiana Samali (MC Christy)

by Valentine Ogbamebor

There is this old saying; the route to a man’s heart is his stomach. Although this may sound funny and ridiculous, it is every bit as true as you can imagine. I for one am a big respecter of my stomach and a wonderful meal, when needed most, can do a lot to win my favor.

 So when it was time to interview these young entrepreneurs, I found myself drawn more to their meals than focusing on our interview. Not only do they know how to make such eye-catching and mouthwatering foods, they have both, against all odds, created a business that is so unique, so innovative, that it is worthy of my respect and admiration.

Our young entrepreneurs are Akanimoh E. Etuk and Christiana Samali, the co-founders of MC Christy ; a food ordering outfit based in Surulere, Lagos. In this interview, Akanimoh speaks to us on how MC Christy started, the setback they encountered, and the challenges confronting their young business

Can you introduce yourself to us?

My name is Akanimoh E. Etuk, an aspiring young entrepreneur, a “Multipreneur”, a leader and a motivator and by His grace I shall be the C.E.O of MC Christy Group of Companies.

Can you tell us a little about your business?

At MC Christy we pride ourselves as arguably the only company in Nigeria that does what we do. We major only in Basmati rice which is obtainable only in Chinese restaurants, Noodles, Spaghetti, and eliche macaroni. Presently we do only take outs and all our only takeouts and all our orders come with complimentary pet drinks.

How long have you been in this business?

We started officially on the 1st of November, 2013, but the premises were razed by fire on 26th February, 2014. We re-launched 2nd March, a week after, better and stronger.

How much did it cost you to begin? Also, what was the source of your capital?

Initially our funds mostly came from my fiancée and I, and then partly from friends and families. Our first start-up cost us about 200,000 Naira. After the fire incident it cost us about 100,000 Naira, because we had to economize the little we had, we got assistance from clients, friends, and families and so on.

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What is the average number of orders you get per day?

Fifty! Our re-branding takes effect from 1st of next month, so with adequate marketing we are targeting between seventy to one hundred orders per day.

Fifty, that’s good. And how do you make your deliveries? Do you have food delivery vehicles?

{laughs} Funny enough we use bicycles! No vehicles, no motorcycles; that is presently our major challenge. The Lagos state government bound the use of Okada and introduced 200cc bikes which cost about 200,000 Naira; when you add registration, road worthiness and Surulere LGA sticker, we are looking at about 250,000 Naira. So instead of waiting till we get a motorcycle for dispatch we use bicycles!

Bicycles! That’s funny, but very innovative. Nice.

Sure!

And are you able to deliver right on time, when the food is still hot?

Within Surulere delivery is free and we are able to do it on time. Every order takes maximum of forty five minutes. But outside Surulere it takes a bit of time that’s if there’s traffic or else it gets there on time. The way we pack our meals it remains hot for like an hour thirty minutes. Any order outside our jurisdiction must be above a pack.

Okay. Do you have staff? How many?

Presently we are five; two delivery guys, one kitchen assistant, one chef (my fiancé) and I (marketer, supervisor, manager, cashier)

Okay. What are the meals on your menu?

Great! We do Noodles, Spaghetti, eliche macaroni and Basmati rice. It can come with Snail, Seafood (prawns n shrimps), King Prawns, Croaker Fish (Full), Goat meat (assorted), Catfish (Cut), Chicken (fillet-Boneless n skinless), Sausage, Veggies (for vegetarians) and Chips.

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I saw ‘Doro Special’ in one of your ads, what is that?

Sure! It’s a combination of varieties. It comes with its own packaging, for the middle/high earners or those that like a taste of different things.

If someone is reading this interview and he is willing to help your business, what are the things you would ask for?

Our challenge now is to get befitting premises, because where we are presently is actually a mechanic workshop and it is hidden, that’s why we do takeouts only. Most of our clients want to come, sit and relax.

We also have a major challenge with delivery. Any order outside Surulere goes via public transport, as a matter of fact I’m in a bus right now heading to CMS for a delivery, the traffic over here adds to the delay. Getting motorcycles which are very flexible and can maneuver their way through any traffic is what we are looking for.

Okay. Finally, where do you see your business in the next five years?

We see ourselves revolutionizing the eatery industry, where rice is the order of the day, where there is a shift from how people see Noodles as meals for kids to meals for everyday person. Finally, we see ourselves as potential market leaders in the hospitality industry. We can only achieve this through hard work, perseverance and walking our talk, and not the other way round.

Thank you very much Mr. Etuk for you time. We wish you the very best in your future plans.

God bless you sir for recognizing our little effort, it has been my pleasure

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