Starting a Shawarma Business in Lagos: A Step-by-Step Guide With Video


Starting a shawarma business in Lagos, Nigeria, can be a lucrative venture. Lagos, being one of the most populous and economically active cities in Africa, offers a thriving market for various food-related businesses. Shawarma, a popular street food item worldwide, has gained immense popularity in Lagos due to its delicious taste and quick preparation. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to launch your own successful shawarma business in Lagos.

Market Research and Analysis

Before you dive into the shawarma business, it’s essential to conduct thorough market research. Here are the key factors to consider:

1. Identifying Your Niche

In a bustling city like Lagos, shawarma businesses come in various forms, from street vendors to upscale restaurants. Determine your niche – will you operate a food truck, a small kiosk, or a sit-down restaurant? Your choice will influence other aspects of your business plan.

2. Target Audience

Understand your target audience. In Lagos, shawarma is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. However, you should tailor your menu and marketing strategies to specific customer segments, whether it’s office workers, students, or tourists.

3. Competitor Analysis

Analyze your competitors – both established shawarma businesses and other fast-food outlets. What makes your shawarma unique, and how can you stand out in a crowded market? This analysis will help you refine your business strategy.

Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Starting any business in Lagos involves adhering to certain legal and regulatory requirements. To operate a shawarma business, consider the following:

1. Business Registration

Register your shawarma business as a legal entity with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This step provides your business with legal recognition and protection.

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2. Permits and Licenses

Obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate a food business in Lagos. These may include health and safety permits, food handling certificates, and environmental permits.

3. Location and Zoning Regulations

Ensure that your chosen location complies with local zoning regulations. Different areas in Lagos may have specific rules about the types of businesses allowed.

4. Food Quality and Safety Standards

Maintain high food quality and safety standards. Regular inspections by relevant authorities are common, and compliance is crucial to avoid legal issues.

Business Plan Development

A well-structured business plan is essential for your shawarma business’s success. Your plan should include:

1. Executive Summary

Provide an overview of your business, including your mission, vision, and goals.

2. Market Research

Share your findings from the market research, identifying your target audience and competition.

3. Business Structure

Detail your business structure, including whether you’re a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation.

4. Menu and Pricing

List your shawarma menu items, ingredients, and pricing. Consider offering various options, such as chicken, beef, or vegetarian shawarma.

5. Marketing and Promotion

Outline your marketing and advertising strategies. In Lagos, social media, food delivery apps, and word-of-mouth are effective ways to reach your audience.

6. Financial Projections

Include financial projections for your shawarma business, such as startup costs, monthly expenses, and revenue forecasts.

7. Funding Requirements

Determine how much capital you need to start and run your business. You may need funds for equipment, ingredients, rent, and marketing.

Setting Up Your Shawarma Business

Now that you’ve done your research, obtained the necessary permits, and created a business plan, it’s time to set up your shawarma business.

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1. Location

Choosing the right location is crucial. Consider high-traffic areas like busy streets, office complexes, or popular markets. Ensure that the location is accessible to your target audience.

2. Equipment and Supplies

Invest in high-quality shawarma equipment, including vertical rotisseries, grills, refrigerators, and food preparation tools. Source fresh and high-quality ingredients to ensure the best taste.

3. Staffing

Hire experienced and customer-oriented staff who can handle food preparation, customer service, and cleanliness efficiently.

4. Menu Development

Create a diverse menu that caters to different tastes. In addition to classic shawarma, consider offering unique flavors or toppings that set you apart from competitors.

5. Marketing and Promotion

Utilize various marketing channels, including social media, food delivery apps, and partnerships with local influencers. Consider opening social media profiles to showcase your shawarma offerings and engage with customers.


Operations and Customer Service

To ensure your shawarma business runs smoothly, focus on these key operational aspects:

1. Hygiene and Safety

Maintain impeccable hygiene standards. Train your staff on proper food handling, and regularly clean and sanitize your equipment and premises.

2. Quality Control

Consistency is key. Ensure that every shawarma you serve meets your quality standards.

3. Customer Service

Provide excellent customer service. Friendly and responsive staff can make a significant difference in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Financial Management

Proper financial management is essential to the success of your shawarma business:

1. Record Keeping

Maintain accurate financial records, including income, expenses, and taxes. Consider using accounting software to streamline this process.

2. Cost Management

Regularly review your expenses and look for ways to reduce costs without compromising quality.

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3. Pricing Strategy

Adjust your pricing strategy as needed to remain competitive and profitable.

Scaling and Growth

As your shawarma business gains popularity, consider strategies for scaling and growth. You might open additional locations, offer catering services, or expand your menu.


Starting a shawarma business in Lagos requires careful planning, dedication, and a commitment to delivering high-quality shawarma to your customers. By following the steps outlined in this guide and continually adapting to market trends and customer preferences, your shawarma business can thrive in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria.

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