Merchant Spotlight: Rejoice Chukwuma ✨

Merchant Spotlight: Rejoice Chukwuma ✨

Hello Rejoice, it’s good to have you here. Let’s meet you and tell us about your business

My name is Rejoice Chukwuma, Founder and Head Chef at Bernadines Restaurant & Lounge and Bernadines Cloud Bistro

Bernadines is a food service company that operates in two branches, one in Akooka, focused on delivery and the other is a dine-in restaurant and lounge in Ajao estate.

How long have you been running your business?

I’ve been running my business since 2017. I started at Babcock university at BUfest 2017, we started with the name Cafe Berna. I love coffee a lot and the concept was to start a coffee shop but because of my love for food, I decided to branch into food as well.

Describe a major highlight of your business.

Major highlight of my business is COVID-19, we had a mad turnover, and the cloud kitchen grew so big.

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?

The fact that I’m able to create, put something out and people buy. It’s not easy to create something and people will jump on it. Empowering young people, I have interns that look up to me, and also the fact that I get to work at my own time.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced or still face since you started?

The major challenge I have faced in the business is capital. So far, I have bootstrapped the business to where it is without external funding. As entrepreneurs, we have ideas but there is no money to fund the ideas which kills most of our ideas. Also, we have logistics issues in the part of the cloud business, the road networks are bad, and the government task force stopping dispatch riders on the road, they affect our deliveries a lot. Customers order food, expecting to get their food delivered in 60 mins and one tout is somewhere disturbing the rider and the customer doesn’t want to understand that part.

Prices are also not stable and electricity is another big issue, I’ve been running on diesel every day for about 2 months now

How do you deal with these challenges?

I keep buying diesel. Communication also helps and we keep putting what the business makes back into it.

How did you hear about Catlog and why did you decide to sign up?

Way back in 2020, during COVID-19, I was too busy to work on the website for the business and I outsourced to somebody but the person did a very bad job, to be honest. I was not impressed and so I wasn’t confident enough to put it out there. Then I met Silas and he sent a DM telling me about the product. Immediately he told me about it, it was just too sweet, and the whole concept made sense. Customers click the Catlog link, pick what they want and send a message on WhatsApp saying these are the items they want. Also, the good part again is that Catlog helps me sum up the total of everything you are buying and it makes it so easy.

What is your favorite feature?

The part where customers go to the Catlog link, pick what they want and I just get a message on WhatsApp with what they want to order, and their delivery details, it’s just too sweet

What features would you like to see?

A delivery part where when customers order food, somebody comes to pick it up. To be honest, I just want to focus on food and leave the delivery part to the person that can handle it. Catlog can help us work on a delivery feature on the platform, it is going to help us.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend Catlog to a seller?

I’ve been recommending Catlog to all my entrepreneur friends, not just the ones that do food business, the ones that have online boutiques, and the ones that sell fresh products. I’ve introduced Catlog to a lot of people and I’m still going to do that, I won’t stop.

Are there business owners that you look up to?

I have entrepreneurs I look up to in my field, I have Chef Fregz. I also have Dare of Abeg, that guy dey ginger me, then also this guy from Patricia, I can’t remember his name now, he is a big inspiration to young entrepreneurs like me.

One piece of advice to business owners and aspiring ones

Don’t stop, you fail, you get back up, you continue, don’t stop. You tried once, it didn’t work, you go back and try again. I’ve had times when I lost so much money, I cry to sleep and wake up the next day to still post and sell food so you don’t have to stop, just continue.

That’s it from Chef Rej, running a business is not a walk in the park. There will be challenges but the most important thing is for you to pick yourself up and try again.

You can get yourself delicious meals from Bernadines Bistro here

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