“I don’t want to have any excuse for not given my kids good education and the best things of life. I have known what hunger is and that I can’t allow my kids experience. I saw a need I can meet with little capital and realized I have the natural ability and in-built skills needed to meet this great need, and then, I swung into action.”
Isaac LIJADU is a fresh graduate from Nigeria Premier University, University of Ibadan. He was a former president of Faculty of Arts. It will amaze you to know how the trained communication and Language Arts expert turned to a cook, find out from this interview.
Oladimeji Ayodeji: Greetings, can we meet you?
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: My name is Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU, second child from a family of six. I spent most of my growing up days in Lagos. I am from Ogun state by origin.
Oladimeji Ayodeji: What motivates you and from where did you get the will-power to start this business from?
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: Well, I would say two things motivated me, first is that I don’t want to wait to have an excuse for my kids for not giving them good education and the best things of life. The second is the impoverished state of our society. This motivates me to do something to change such
Oladimeji Ayodeji: Why did you venture into this particular business?
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: Well, I figured out that food is an essential part of humanity. It is important as it gives us energy and nutrients needed for everyday living and growth. So, I figured out through much thinking that since potatoes is a common food in this part of the country and very affordable. I thought within myself, I could make a dish from it and alas! We have “Fries and chops”- the combination of fried potatoes, dodo, sticked-meat and (scrambled) fried egg.
I ventured into this business because food is very essential to our survival and with the growing rate of starvation in our society, my food can be conveniently afforded by the poor. So I’m out to feed the common man because I have known what hunger is. I know via reading that nutrition goes beyond just eating, this was well considered while planning for the package.
Oladimeji Ayodeji: Tell us more about your brand
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: About the brand…Fries ‘n’ Chops started more or less like a joke, but not a child’s play anymore. Friends regarded me as a good cook and since I liked potatoes, egg and dodo, some suggested I should venture into selling chicken and chips. When I took all the advices and carefully thought about it, I discovered I could actually do something less expensive and affordable to the average man on the road; hence, I decided to start out with: Fried potatoes, scrambled egg, fried plantain (dodo) and sticked-meat, all at a giveaway price of (three hundred naira only) #300 and the quantity is much satisfactory and unbelievable for such price. We will still include fried chicken as time goes on.
Oladimeji Ayodeji: What advise will you give to other young graduates in your category?
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: My advice to other graduates waiting for the compulsory one year National Youth Service call up letter is to try as much as possible to be productive in whatever thing they find themselves doing, because there are no jobs anywhere. With this current economic situation in this country, it is every man to himself. One must be able to think through a problem and create a viable solution to such problem.
Oladimeji Ayodeji: Where do you see this brand in couples of years?
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: I see us having branches in major cities around the country and our fast food outlet being one of the recognised outlets in the country besides Domino pizza, Mr. Biggs and Tantalizer. Just a matter of time, we will get there, no doubt!
Oladimeji Ayodeji: Can you share your previous business experience/attempts with us if any?
Oluwaseun Isaac LIJADU: I am also a professional photographer but I have toned down on my photography a little bit for now, to avail me enough time to focus on our fast growing food outlet “Fries n chops.” When I have employed enough hands, I can refocus on photography again.
Before photography, I learnt graphics design but did not specialize in it because I did not have a personal laptop to keep practicing on afterwards, moreover, what some clients were offering to pay for jobs were too menial compared to amount of work I was putting in to develop my expertise.