Nigerian finger foods maker smallChops plans expansion beyond Lagos after strong post-COVID growth

NIGERIA – Small, bite-sized, brimming with flavours, finger foods are what makes house parties and get-togethers memorable affairs.

Nigeria-based startup offering a wide range of finger foods, smallChops, is planning on expanding to other cities in the country and across Africa having seen an average 20 per cent month-on-month growth since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Formed in August 2016, smallChops delivers different finger food – “small chops” – packages straight to consumers’ homes or any location of their choosing through its website and other channels like WhatsApp, Instagram, and a call centre.

Founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Uche Ukonu told Disrupt Africa what started because of a single inconvenience had morphed into a vision-driven brand.

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“Our initial model was to aggregate orders from the internet and push to verified vendors to produce, but we faced the same issues as all marketplace-based food delivery business models – operational and logistical setbacks with managing the entire process,” he said.

“Without the funding to stay afloat, we backward integrated and started to produce the finger foods ourselves, giving us control over the entire value chain, from order placement to delivery.”

This change in approach has prompted significant growth, especially since COVID-19, with revenue increasing steadily and smallChops now having an ARR of over US$100,000.

The startup has so far served just under 20,000 customers relishing on smallChops biting such as spring rolls, chicken cuts, samosas, corn dogs among many others.

“Our dream has now become to boost local economies, by building trustworthy relatable brands around largely offline locally available finger foods and snacks, using technology and media, and acting as a buffer between these local finger foods vendors and an increasingly online audience,” Ukonu said.

Having perfected its model in Lagos, smallChops is now actively looking for partners to expand into other cities in Nigeria, and Africa, in the near future.

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Meanwhile, a new fast casual restaurant selling Nigerian snacks, pastries, and entrees of spicy-hot peppered meats and jollof rice, Boxochops Modern African Kitchen, has been opened in Texas, USA.

Its best-selling snack box is a sweet and savory gateway to Nigerian street foods. It contains freshly fried puff puff, a deep-fried mackerel fish roll, a beef roll, a Nigerian spring roll with deep fried cabbage mix, along with the choice of a gizzard, chicken, beef or goat mini-kebab, for around US$8.

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