Business News

Leisure industry across Nigeria struggle to survive as households spend more on food than pleasure – Survey


Nigeria’s leisure industry is taking a hit as the soaring prices of food gulp more of Nigerians’ income, leaving less for pleasure.

This is according to recent Naijaonpoint findings based on a survey conducted across three states and the Federal Capital Territory among business owners and customers over the course of two weeks.

At Regional Hotel, considered a centre of pleasure in the Isashi District on the outskirts of Lagos, customers would struggle to get a seat on a Friday night and into the weekend six months ago.

Today, the entertainment field and ballroom are half empty during the weekend. A manager who pled anonymity told Naijaonpoint that the plunge in patronage has been a progressive one. “It’s not that the quality of our services has fallen, people are just not coming in the numbers as they used to,” he said.

A regular customer, Moses Jakpor, stated that the money he spends on food for him and his family every month is far more than he used to. “Something must give for the other. The money I spend on food is digging deep into my pocket; so there is not much left for ‘flexing,” he said.

Jakpor added that the situation is the same with many of his friends who are regular visitors to Regional.

Off Toyin Street in Ikeja, Lagos, the development takes another dimension. Not only that a hotel in the area suffer lower beverage patronage, but the rate of lodging has also fallen sharply due to reduced patronage of sex workers, the manager of the hotel, who pled anonymity, told Naijaonpoint.

Anita, a sex worker at the hotel told Naijaonpoint that they sell their services from their homes based on contacts they have stored instead of staying in the hotel at the rate of N7,000 per night. She blames the low patronage on the high cost of living that has engulfed the nation.

“We spend much of the little money we make on food. I spend around N6,000 every day on food. Before now I was spending N500 per meal. Today I spend no less than N2,000 for a meal. So I can’t afford to be staying in a hotel where I will pay N7,000 per night for a room when our customers are not coming as before? How much am I making per day?” she quipped.

In Sabon-gari in Kano, the owner of an entertainment centre, Livinus Okereke, who spoke with Naijaonpoint on a phone call, said business is not looking up. He said fewer people come to his place to eat and drink. When asked by Naijaonpoint about the possible cause, Okereke said his customers complain about the high cost of food.

Quoting his regular customer, Charles, whose patronage has fallen, Okereke said, “Bros, person neva chop belle full for the house. Food cost die; e no easy.”

In Borokiri, Port Harcourt, Martins Ojake, a restaurant owner, sings the same chorus, “Customer base is falling steeply.” According to Ojake, civil servants and other private sector workers, who are his biggest customers, now prefer to cook at home and take to work.

Treasure, a civil servant with the Rivers State Government, affirmed the trend. She told Naijaonpoint that she cooks at home and takes her lunch to work in a cooler because of the high cost of food in the restaurants. “It doesn’t make sense to be spending N3,500 for one meal at work when I can take homemade food to work. Food is too expensive in the markets, to start with. So how can I be paying so much at a restaurant when my salary has not changed?” Treasure complained.

In Abuja, the centre of entertainment, the story is no different. At Floris, in Wuse District, the customer base is also falling.

A regular customer, Babagana, told Naijaonpoint that the customer base is visibly low. He said on a Salah day like last Monday, in the not-distant past, customers would struggle to find seats. It’s not the same today.

He said he has reduced the frequency of his visits to Floris because his pocket is drier than before, alluding to the fact that he spends more on food at home than before.

He said he has reduced the frequency of his visits to Floris because his pocket is drier than before, alluding to the fact that he spends more on food at home than before.

At Caramelo in Zone 7, Abuja, a security guard says customers are coming in fewer numbers. He alluded to tough times as the cause of the falling customer base.

In Nigeria, food expenditure holds a paramount position due to its essential nature and the fundamental role it plays in sustaining livelihoods.

This prioritization is driven by the need to ensure adequate nutrition and sustenance for families, often leaving limited discretionary income for non-essential items like leisure activities.

The president of the Independent Shareholders’ Association of Nigeria, Moses Igbrude, notes that the implications of this spending pattern are profound for the leisure industry, which encompasses a wide spectrum of recreational activities, entertainment venues, and tourism services.

He said with a constrained consumer spending capacity in discretionary categories, leisure businesses may experience reduced patronage and lower revenues.