Fasuyi Olubunmi John is the Managing Director of Intro Lounge. He has been in the hospitality business for almost a decade because of his passion for the business. Speaking with ENCOMIUM Weekly, he explained why he pioneered Ambode Solidarity Group 2015 Campaign with his team.
Can you tell us exactly what Intro Lounge is into?
Intro Lounge is into hospitality business. The nature of our business is about people coming together to unwind and it’s not for everyone. It is for a select few, a special place for a special set of people.
If you have a place like this and throw it open, you might be making money but the problem is that you might not be able to control the crowd. So, this place is for corporate people and mature minds.
What inspired your decision to venture into this kind of business?
I have never worked as an employee. It is the passion I have for hospitality business that made me get into this line of business. When I saw how they operate clubs here, I said to myself I can do better in this kind of business and for the fact I needed a business that is self sufficient.
Looking at the economy of the country, do you think Nigerians are also coming out to relax, has the economy affected your business?
People all over the world see Nigerians as the happiest people. In Nigeria when you are happy, you want to unwind even when you are not happy, you still want to unwind. So, irrespective of the economy of this country people still unwind, the only thing is that some now spend less than their usual way.
Some unwind more when they are not happy. Don’t forget many people are making more money with this economy.
What do you think government can do to improve your business?
There are a lot government needs to do. First is security. We have tried as much as possible to call on government because people are taking advantage of us. A lot of people stand outside smoking Indian hemp which is not part of this business and not good for the image of this business. If people see all those things happening close to our business environment, they will be afraid to park their cars so that it wouldn’t be vandalized. So, we really need the government to come in.
Also, electricity is not steady which affects this kind of business. In the area of tax which is what government needs to carry out their development, they can make it a bit reasonable for business owners. In our own case which is very peculiar, they ask us to remit five percent of consumption.
The only thing they don’t take into consideration is that hotels can add five percent on food consumption, eateries can do it but not where they are selling drinks. You cannot add money to customers while others are selling at a regular price. It would drive them away because they know the general price. So, they have to reason with us because we are in the competitive environment and if your price is higher then you will lose your customers.
We are not saying they should not tax but they should be considerate. Here, we pay for business premises, pay to local government for parking space and they give excessive bills and now comes Lagos State Consumption Tax. We will love the government to make those taxes moderate and reasonable. We all want to be part of Lagos state development.
So far, have you enjoyed doing this kind of business, are you fulfilled?
Where you are getting money you don’t have a choice. If I’m not enjoying it, how will I continue? It’s a business that when you put the right things in place, things will move well. I like the business not only that, it avails you the opportunity to meet people that ordinarily you wouldn’t be able to meet. From this business I have been able to meet a lot of people with other business ideas.
From our investigation, we found out that you host a lot of big personalities ranging from people from the government house and so many others, how true is that?
When you like someone, you want to see the person progress, you want to appreciate the person in any way you can. I know that when His Excellency, Governor Ambode was running his campaign, we championed Ambode Solidarity Group. With Ayo Jeje, Niyi Faloye, Nene Ojuolape.
We started from here (Intro Lounge) just because of the love we have for Governor Ambode and APC as a party. I love their ideology, their politicking. I have been in Lagos for a while and since inception of AD till now, I have been a strong supporter.
How have you been able to manage this business and the staff?
I started this business with just N70,000 by and large. When you have passion for what you do and determined, you will succeed. You must have self control. When I started people started coming in, we were able to put things in place and thank God we are able to achieve success so far.
What is so special about Intro Lounge, what makes it different from others?
Like I said, it’s not for everybody. What makes it special is the fact that we treat our customers as kings. We make them understand that they are the reason we are here. We go to the extreme to make them comfortable.
- NKECHINYERE IBEMERE