Omolola Akintola-Onafalujo is a chef, a writer, and a business consultant. She got her first degree in economics, and a Masters in Marketing, before getting her MBA. After a brief stint in business consulting, she went into the banking sector. After a year and a half in banking, she registered Milk & Honey Gourmet Services. She talks to Joy Ehonwa
about running her meal subscription business and that’s how we got here.
CN: When did you start Milk and Honey and what services do you offer?
Milk and Honey unofficially started in 2015 but was registered as Milk & Honey in March 2016. Milk & Honey is primarily a subscription based meal plan company. We offer different meal plans at a range of prices. We currently carry five meal plans; Standard, Silver, Gold, Platinum and the Lean Meal Plan. Each meal plan is tailored to suit people’s varying dietary preferences and all plans are very affordable.
CN: What’s the story behind the business? What inspired you to start it?
I always planned to own a restaurant; sort of a retirement plan. I had thought I would take my sweet time and enjoy the formal sector for years before doing so. However while working in the headquarters of one of the busiest banks in Nigeria, the peculiar eating habit of bankers struck me. The cafeterias had limited options, we were almost always too busy to go out to eat and when we did have time to go, good food was not very pocket-friendly. I am also a big believer in breakfast. I think it’s a healthy habit to cultivate. I believe it increases productivity and aids a balanced state of mind. That is how Milk & Honey was born. I saw a need that wasn’t being met, and I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t ignore.
CN: Who is your business aimed at?
Milk and Honey is aimed at working individuals in fast paced cities like Lagos who have a busy schedule. These people want good food but are too busy to go looking for it. It is also aimed at people who are looking to develop/maintain a healthy lifestyle of eating right and eating well.
CN: How does Milk and Honey work? What steps do potential customers have to take?
We are a meal subscription company so all a customer has to do is subscribe to a meal plan. How you choose to do that however might vary. The traditional way of doing so is to visit our website, choose a meal plan and place an order. Immediately an order is received, a company representative contacts the customer to verify the information provided (delivery address, phone number) and also to get more information on dietary preferences, allergies, or any other vital information. The meal plan will commence as stipulated by the customer. You can also place an order through our social media platforms.
CN: Give us a peek into your menu. What kinds of meals do you offer?
Our menu is very diverse. We offer breakfast and lunch with Nigerian, American & Asian influences. So you will get everything from a typical Nigerian yam and eggs breakfast to chicken curry for lunch.
CN: What’s the most challenging part of your work?
The most challenging part has been keeping up the service quality as we grow. Because we offer customised meal plans, keeping track of each customer and their needs is the most important task to be handled. Another challenging aspect is logistics. We all know how the traffic congestion in Lagos can be. Definitely looking forward to when the company and Nigeria will develop to the stage of drone deliveries (laughs).
CN: How has the response to Milk and Honey been? Which of your meals have customers ordered the most?
The response has been encouraging. There is definitely a market for what we offer. As to customer favourites, I think the Full English Breakfast is the most loved menu item so far.
CN: What are you relying on to help you maintain your market position? What’s your unique selling point?
We hope our service quality will convince customers we genuinely care about them. This isn’t just about making money. We try to create stress-free culinary experiences for our customers. I think our unique selling point is how every plan is customised to each customer.
CN: In your opinion, what qualities are a must for a successful entrepreneur?
It is important to have a vision and believe in it. It is also important to be able to get others to believe in it too. You must have a vision and you must be able to sell it to both your employees and your customers. Another one, especially in our country, is patience and the ability to handle failures as well as successes. You learn as much from failure as you do success. Anyone unwilling to face the possibility of failing will not get a chance at success.
CN: What has life taught you about money?
Money is a tool. I don’t think money is not important. Sometimes we hear billionaire business people tell us that money is secondary. I don’t agree. Maybe I will when I become a billionaire. Money is important and it is a problem solver. You could have the greatest ideas in the world but it will die off without funding.
CN: Which books have changed your life?
I wouldn’t say any book has changed my life other than the Bible, but I have learned a lot from the following books:
by Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell
by Ken Blanchard
Seven Commandments of Foolishness
by Godman Akinlabi
There are so many, but these are the ones that come to mind most readily.
CN: What’s your long-term vision for Milk and Honey?
My long term plan is to attain brand resonance, expand into other cities in Nigeria and ultimately Africa. I’d also like to expand our operations and go into green house farming, processing, and packaging.
Milk & Honey Gourmet
Click here to contact Milk and Honey Gourmet directly
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This article was first published on 14th September 2017 and updated on November 6th, 2017 at 10:45 am