Toyin Ogundeko is the CEO of Sweet Discovery Party Caterers, a Catering outfit in Lagos, Nigeria.
Birthed in Port Harcourt City, Sweet Discovery focused solely on Cakes and a variety of pastries.
In 2008, we explored Accra, Ghana, where we introduced Ghanaian & Nigerian dishes to our existing portfolio.
We moved back to Lagos in 2015, and continued our Cakes, Pastries, and expanded to catering for all Indoor and Outdoor events.
As the CEO of Discovery Party Caterers , tell us how you managed to build a sustainable brand in the Food Industry?
Over the years, Sweet Discovery has maintained its long standing objective of customer satisfaction over money. Money is good, but is the customer satisfied? A satisfied customer will come back again and again, and happily refer others to you. This has helped me maintain and grow my customer base over the years. My children often say, I cook and bake with love I do not cut corners when preparing anything, be it Cakes, Pastries, Small chops or Main meals; and this is one value I instill in my staff on a daily basis. I derive motivation from both the positive and constructive feedback I get from customers, as they’re all opportunities for growth and learning.
In this interview with Oyinlola Sale, Toyin Ogundeko, CEO of Sweet Discovery Party Caterers spoke about what inspires her creativity in the Food Industry.
The Food Industry in Nigeria has become innovative, it is more about the creativity infused with good taste. What inspires your creativity?
My creativity stems from my own personal drive to always deliver the best 4 , so I continuously learn, unlearn, and re-relearn from top players both locally and
Internationally, to remain up to speed with current happenings within the industry. My children, Oluwatofunmi and Oluwademilade, have been very helpful in this regard as well. They bring in new and trendy ideas especially with content creation, and help us see to its execution.
In this economy where prices of goods are drastically increasing by the day, how do you manage to draw the line to know how to put a price on your services?
Inflation in the country is alarming and discouraging to say the least, and I must admit that it is really hard pricing our products. Ingredients bought at N10,000 today, can be N12,000 tomorrow and a lot of times, our profit suffers. We try to be as reasonable as possible with our pricing, but due to the current economic situation of the country, It is difficult telling a customer that a bowl of soup he bought for N5k last week, is now N6k or N7k. I have returning customers who just go ahead to transfer the money of what they want to order, based on the last price they bought it. Telling them to top up the balance is hard, so often times, i bear the loss. I am learning to detach sentiments from my pricing decisions, and reassure customers of the value they are getting for that money spent because hey, the business must thrive.
The Food Industry is capital intensive.
How did you manage to finance this business in it’s early days?
Finances at the early days majorly came from my little savings, and support from family and friends. The first time I got a shop in Port Harcourt, I appealed to family and very close friends, asking for their “widow’s mite” to enable me actualize my dreams, and the response was amazing. I was gifted baking equipment, cash, and bulk ingredients which enabled me to start. As the business grew, we were making more than enough money to plough back into the business for expansion.
Where do you see Discovery Party Caterers in the next Five years?
In the next five years, I see Sweet Discovery Party Caterers as a house hold name here in Nigeria, and I envision us breaking into the International Market