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Running Restaurant Business in South Africa not Easy…Christian Jones



Christian Jones Ogbuchi, CEO VIP Lounge Rosslyn, Pretoria

Striving to make ends meet is not that easy as it requires one taking the bold step towards securing a better future and for Christian Jones Ogbuchi a Nigerian South African base business executive, it is about hustling where the system favours.

Christian as he is fondly called hails from Obeagu Village in Agulu town, Anaocha local government area of Anambra state Nigeria but he ended finding good luck in South Africa, where he was able to set up his business.

He is the owner of one of the most sought after bar in Pretoria, which is the VIP Lounge Rosslyn and since it’s inception in 2017, he has not regretted his choice of business.

In a recent interview with he revealed the challenges affecting hospitality business in South Africa and more.

Read excerpts below;

How did the journey of hospitality business start for you?

My journey in the hospitality industry began with the ownership of De Pentagon bar in Brits, Northwest Province, established in August 2011. After its successful run, I ventured further by establishing VIP Lounge Rosslyn, in Rosslyn Akasia, Pretoria, in 2017. The transition allowed me to bring a fresh and dynamic approach to the hospitality scene.

Running business such as restaurant is not that easy here in south Africa, how have you been able to manage through?

Operating a restaurant in South Africa comes with its challenges, but a key to our success has been a focus on quality service, a diverse menu, and building a strong local community connection. Adapting to market trends and maintaining a customer-centric approach have also played crucial roles in navigating the dynamic hospitality landscape.

For about a year plus now, the country has seen huge increase in prices of food commodities due to increase in price of fuel, how has this affected your business?

The rise in food commodity prices, linked to fuel increases, has impacted our operational costs. However, we’ve mitigated this by optimizing our menu, implementing efficient cost management strategies, and maintaining transparent communication with our customers. Despite challenges, we continue to prioritize delivering quality and value to our patrons.

You run both Bar and Restaurant simultaneously, how have you been able see it through?

Managing both a bar and restaurant concurrently requires careful coordination. We’ve streamlined operations, ensuring each complements the other seamlessly. This approach allows us to cater to a diverse clientele, offering a comprehensive experience that has been well-received in both VIP Lounge Rosslyn and the former De Pentagon bar.

As a business owner of consumables, why is the prices of your drinks (exotic) higher than the ones in the regular market?

The pricing of exotic drinks in our establishment reflects the quality, ambiance, and service we provide. We source premium and unique beverages, invest in a curated experience, and maintain high standards in customer service. Our pricing structure aligns with the commitment to delivering a distinctive and elevated experience to our valued patrons.

In South Africa, will you say that your customers prefer night life to day and what is so special about night life?

In South Africa, the preference leans towards vibrant nightlife. Our customers appreciate the unique atmosphere and social interactions that come alive during the night. The appeal lies in creating memorable experiences, offering entertainment, and fostering a lively ambiance that resonates with our community.

Why venture into the Bar and Restaurant business?

Venturing into the bar and restaurant business was driven by a passion for hospitality and creating communal spaces. It allows us to craft memorable experiences, share diverse culinary delights, and contribute to the social fabric of the community. The dynamic nature of this industry aligns with our vision for fostering connections and offering a multifaceted experience to our patrons.

How is the government policy affecting your business and others?

Government policies significantly impact the hospitality sector. Navigating licensing, health regulations, and COVID-19 measures requires adaptability. We actively stay informed, collaborate with authorities, and implement necessary adjustments to align with policies, ensuring the safety of our patrons and compliance with regulations.

You talked about going into content creation, what will the content be focused on?

Our content creation will focus on sharing wisdom, inspiration, and engaging discussions. From insightful topics on life, marriage, and family to moments of inspiration, the content aims to resonate with a diverse audience. Additionally, we’ll incorporate entertaining elements, contributing to a well-rounded and vibrant online presence.