HAKEEM Mustapha, popularly known as Gatusso, the owner of G12 Beach Bar on Oniru Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos, has a lot to be thankful for. He was out of business for over a year when Oniru Beach was closed for renovation, and now that he is back it has been business as usual.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with him at his bar and he told us all about his business, how he fared while he was out of business and the next steps for the bar.
You were out of business for over a year, how did you manage to bounce back?
With God all things have been possible and my customers have been amazing, may God Almighty bless them. It was a trying period and a big experience for me. I believe everything happens for a reason. One thing about life is that if things are going well for a long time, the moment things turn around, you forget the time of suffering.
What lesson did you learn from your trying period?
I learnt a lot. First, do what you want to do and be who you want to be. The moment you try to satisfy everyone, you’ll end up hurting yourself. I learnt to do the best and leave the rest for God to handle.
For the period you shut down, many of your customers moved on to other spots. How were you been able to get them back?
For most of my customers, I deal with them verbally on one-on-one basis. I do what I call bumper-to-bumper and door-to-door advert. I follow up on my customers from time to time. So, when I got back in business it was easy to spread the word that we had reopened. It was a very stressful process but it is the best way.
What are you doing differently now, from what you used to do?
I’m still doing the same thing, just a few tweaks here and there.
What is the secret of your success?
Allah is the secret of my success.
What stands you out from your competitors?
I really can’t tell. I have this mindset that I have no competitors, because the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching each other. So, whatever comes to me I believe that’s what God wants for me.
You were one of the pioneers of beach club business, what inspired it?
I love doing things that people haven’t done before. When I started the beach lifestyle, I later turned it to a club concept. Normally, people come to the beach in the afternoon to relax. So, I thought to lighten up the beach for people to have a club experience. I am the pioneer of night life at the beach.
How soon do you see yourself moving from the beach to the street for a proper club?
We are already working on it, and we would move to the street soon. We have loads of ideas for it.
In this line of business, it is believed that people take drinks without paying immediately and owe debts that run into millions. Has this happened to you before?
Yes, it has happened to me and it is one of the things that affected me when I was out of business. In this club business in Nigeria, you can’t do without signing. Signing is when a customer wants drinks without paying immediately and puts it down in writing to pay later. When most people want to collect the drinks they are usually calm and polite but once they get it and it’s time to pay, they turn into lions. Some of them are heartless. Some people like their names and don’t like it damaged or tarnished. Some don’t care at all.
It has happened to me and I believe it can never happen again, because I still have millions of naira out there that people still owe.
Any plans for the rest of the year?
From August to September we had lots of events. We are on recess now till the peak period starts. The peak period starts from November. We have a lot of events lined up. The VIP is the only event. We have it only twice a year, so the second edition is coming up. Then party turn up, a dance event is coming up and it would be branded by a drink which we would reveal. It is a dance competition where people post videos of them dancing on Instagram. The finals would be on the beach. We have loads of events coming up in December and we are ready.