Experts explain why local QSRs are closing shop

By Olatoyosi Oladapo 

Negligence in adopting innovation, effective brand communication, customer relationship, positive brand positioning, among other reasons are why many local Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) are going extinct in Nigeria.

This is the position of some media communications experts who spoke to MARKETING EDGE on the dwindling fortunes of most QSRs in Nigeria.

Speaking on the issue, Omobolanle Akingbala, Head of Strategic Growth & Partnership, Zedi Africa EDGE told Marketing Edge in interview that in the early 80’s and 90’s, QSRs formerly called Fast Food Restaurants were considered kings in the heart of consumers.

She stressed that a visit to any of those local QSRs was regarded as an expression of love,but lamented that many have gone under because of their inability to evolve and innovate with the new rising demands of consumers.

She added:”In my opinion, the first thing responsible for the closure of most QSRs is their inability to grow with the taste of consumers.

For example, most local QSRs had to wait for their competitors for them to meet the current taste of the consumers. This is like using the taste bud of the last generation to compare with today’s market. The local QSR brands failed to understand their target market needs and taste. They failed to understand that consumers evolve. For a brand to have continuity, you have to grow with the taste of consumers,” she added.

She noted that the local QSR brands sidelined the younger consumers’ taste for foreign dishes while neglecting brand consistency.

“They kept serving the same thing, they didn’t appeal to the GenZ taste buds and needs. They failed to innovate their food menu to include foreign items like burger, pizza that appeal to the younger consumers. This local brands stayed very localized in their offerings. Today,many people travel to various places in and outside Nigeria and they have experienced various menu. They have been exposed to other kind of foods and diets and they are searching for brands which will offer them these new experiences. When they get the experience, they move. . This local brands have not been able to deliver consistency to its consumers. Consistency is very important in brand experience. What keeps the consumers is the brand promise and consistency in services. No consistency in quality of customers experience”, she further stressed.

In the same vein, Israel Obatunde, CEO Ideas Origin Media, pointed that despite the thriving QSR sector in Nigeria, Local QSRs brands are struggling to survive.

“First, I think its sad how fast food industry pioneers like Mr. Biggs among others have declined and struggling to survive over time in an industry that recorded 10% increase with $602.5 million estimation as at January 2023.

However, the decline can easily be traced to a number of factors, including poor customer services. The customer/client is king and innovation cannot replace top notch services. It’s impossible to get good results when what you’re selling to the customers is of poor standard, in the first place”.

Stressing on lack of innovation, Mr. Obatunde added: “another key factor is the mode of operation. The new players in the industry understood the use of technology to bridge the gap between the brands and the customers. This is very reflective in the booming e-commerce and logistics industries. These industries have seamlessly taken the food industry to a whole new level in ensuring customers get what they need with ease, though they’re also evolving in a challenging business environment like Nigeria.”

He further lamented the disconnection between local QSRs brands with their consumers.

He further emphasised: “furthermore, these QSRs also failed at being innovative in their approach to selling to the consumers. Their core TAs are no longer just the baby boomers but the new generation with much energy and vibes. The new generation don’t necessary patronize based on what they need but essentially about how you make them feel. Hence, the need for brand to emotionally connect to them before selling to them.”


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