Over the weekend, marketing tech enthusiast; Ore Afolayan caught up with Austin Obiorah, CEO of Obio Rah Grilling & Services and Manager of the popular Skushi Arena at the Latitude Bar, Ventura Mall.
They had a chat amidst glasses of Orange juice and tequila.
Q: Can we meet you?
A: I’m Austin Obiorah by name.
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: Actually, I’m into Skushis production and sales.
Q: Just Skushi? What else does your brand entail?
A: We are into Barbeque fish, Asun, Shawarma, Chapman, Chicken & Chips and Skushis.
Q: When did you start?
A: Well, I started in 2012.
Q: What inspired you to venture into this line of business?
A: I just love Barbeque and I love Skushi so much. Skushi is one of the best in town. It is trending and better than beer. You can’t take Skushi and it will smell in your mouth. You can’t have Skushi and have a protruding stomach. But the same cannot be said of Beer. It is far far better.
Q: How can potential customers locate you?
A: Visit the Lekan Salami stadium at Adamasingba and ask of Skushis Land or Skushi Arena.
Q: So you’re based in Ibadan, right?
A: Yeah sure!
Q: Do you have plans of expansion?
A: We’re working on that.
Q: Do you have team members?
A: I have a Partner. Dominic Emeka by name.
Q: What characteristics did you identify in him that got him on board?
A: I saw him as someone that has passion.
Q: So you have two key figures in the business, how do you delegate tasks and responsibilities?
A: In a company, we have different roles; CEO, Manager etc. So it is just left to us to get work done.
Q: What are the challenges you face in business?
A: Many times, people buy and promise to transfer money afterwards. However, all of a sudden, you won’t see them again. So we have such shortages. Henceforth, I tell my workers and apprentices to use the ‘Pay Before Service’ motto. Sometimes, they drink and stand up as if they want to urinate and you wont see them again.
Q: Is it usually deliberate or accidental?
A: Most times, people do intentionally.
Q: What are the challenges you have with other competitors? The other Barbeque seller, the beer seller etc..
A: I realized that it is coming out as a Beef, because Skushi is trending than beer. For beer, you will need about 5 bottles to effectively feel its impact in your system. That is about N300 times 5 which equals N1500. While with 2 cups of Skushis for N500, you are okay. Skushis will inspire you, make you feel good and cool.
Q: Tell me more about your type of Skushi.
A: My type of Skushi is not alcoholic. It is African Skushis. it is gotten from the ground.
Q: What’s the composition of Skushi?
A: We have different flavours. Strawberry, Pineapple, Chewing Gum, Chocolate, Vanilla and so on and so forth. The rest is left to me.
Q: Amongst the flavours identified, which ones move the most in the market?
A: When I started, I produced all kinds of flavours. I realized that when they order for one, they will say; “This one is somehow”. We would then give them another one and they would say; “Wow! This one is perfect”. I studied the customers, weighed the advantages and disadvantages and the population of the one hugely demanded. That’s why I settled for one. So now I know people’s choice and what they desire.
Q: What are your marketing plans? Do you utilize Social Media? Referrals? Fliers etc?
A: All of the above.
Q: What are the preservation packages you utilize?
A: We store them in a fridge. As long as it is cold, it is cool. If it is hard or soft, it really does not need any preservation.
Q: How do you intend to expand your distribution network to other bars and relaxation spots?
A: I’ve been thinking about that. For now, I’m just trying to brand my Skushis. Give it a label. So when people buy the takeaway packs and dispose the container, passersby come across it. Starting from there, they will be the ones to come by themselves. We hope to take it to Shoprite and other relaxation centres.
Q: Where do you see your brand by the middle of the year, end of the year and in 3 years time?
A: By the middle of the year, I should have branded the Skushis. So people will see the brand as an emerging brand. By the year’s end and 3 years time, I should be an household name in Ibadan.
Q: Do you have Drive-by drink spots where people can just drive in, drink and go?
A: Recently, I discussed something similar to this with my girlfriend. She encouraged me and advised that everything in life is gradual; one step at a time.
Q: Will the promotion and marketing of African Skushis affect other things such as Shawarma, Asun that the Obio Rah brand is known for?
A: They are going to move on together. As long as the Skushis is trending, anybody that is coming to the Skushis land will see other things we are selling and request for it.
Q: Do you have plans of bringing investors on board?
A: Yeah! We are currently on it.
Q: Any words to your potential customers and competitors?
A: I’m using this opportunity to say a very big Thank You to you all for patronizing me, for the courage and encouragement to keep on doing what I’m doing and that what I’m doing is the best. I really appreciate your efforts.To my competitors, I really don’t have anything to say to them. It is just that everyone is trying to make ends meet. Let everyone do his or her own.
Q: What are your final words to the people?
A: Shout-out to all the hustlers, to the Yahoo boys that mostly patronize our brand. Shout-out to everybody. I’m just short of words. All I would just say is Thank You.
To order for your Skushis, contact;
Tel: 08136800932, 08184636386.
FB: Amechi Obiorah.