International rock and roll-themed restaurant Hard Rock Cafe has opened its first outlet in Nigeria’s most populous city, Lagos, as it expanded to the fourth country on the continent.
Hard Rock Cafe, which already operates in South Africa, Egypt and Tunisia, has set up a restaurant with a swimming pool, three bars and its famous Rock Shop in the exclusive Atlantic coast city, that will draw in the wealthy, middle and elite class in the Africa’s largest economy.
“I think Nigeria is more than ready for us. They have ample population, big population, a lot of wealth, they’re an engine of economic growth in Africa and the people here love a good time, they love music and good food so it just makes sense now,” Hamish Dodds, President and CEO of Hard Rock International, said in an interview with CCTV Africa.
Dodds said the economic challenges facing the West African economy were not new to their business as the company, which first opened its door 45 years ago in central London and now has 138 other cafes around the world, had successfully navigated worse market conditions.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, is struggling with a dollar crunch in the local market after the central bank restricted financial institutions from freely trading in foreign hard currencies.
The country’s economy has also slowed down as revenue from oil exports dwindled after prices of the commodity fell on the international market.
The tough business environment has forced some foreign companies to scale down their operations in Nigeria, lay off thousands and even shut their operations, Africa News reported.
“We have to take a long-term view and hoping that the oil situation and the impact on the Nigerian economy that there will be some kind of improvement,” Dodd told CCTV Africa.
“Our investment is based upon the expectation that there are other relevance to the economy as well and people will come to our brand.”
Nigerian are known as big spender and most luxury brands targeting Sub-Saharan Africa have set up shop in the country, which has one of the fastest growing population of dollar millionaires on the continent.