Skip to content Skip to footer

The story of Rita Eke CEO of Salads N More Catering Company

Cooking has always been a natural talent for me. I’ve always enjoyed preparing meals, hosting gatherings, and ensuring people’s well-being. There’s something immensely satisfying about seeing others enjoy good food, not just any meal.

I started cooking at nine, helping my mom, a caterer, when she couldn’t be in the kitchen. Growing up in the barracks, where she cooked for soldiers, I often cooked for her clients too. These experiences sparked my love for cooking, and I’ve been passionate about it ever since.

After finishing secondary school, I went to a catering school in Benue State. I began by baking snacks. Because I did really well there, my supervisors asked me to train new students. Since I love making people happy with food, I gladly took on the role. My dad has always been my biggest supporter and has encouraged me every step of the way.

When I moved from Benue State to Lagos after getting married, things changed. In Benue, I had a lot of support, but in Lagos, my husband, who should have been supportive, wasn’t. He doubted my catering skills, comparing them unfavorably to those in Lagos. Instead of being discouraged, his lack of faith spurred me to learn more about Lagos’s catering standards. I enrolled in a four-week training course and gained hands-on experience working with other caterers. I even worked with renowned restaurants like Tasty Fried Chicken, where I learned about their high standards, operating procedures, and the importance of food freshness.

During my years of working, I noticed something troubling: salads often didn’t get the attention they deserved at events. While dishes like rice, amala, and pounded yam received special treatment, salads were often overlooked. This bothered me because I knew how nutritious and important they were. Sometimes, I even took extra steps to ensure their freshness, like collaborating with drink vendors to keep them chilled until serving time.

I realized that many caterers saw salads as extra work and preferred to focus on local dishes. This experience motivated me to specialize in salads. I observed this trend while working alongside other vendors at events, where salads were often neglected. I heard people complain about poorly prepared and preserved salads, which discouraged them from eating them outside their homes.

This realization inspired me to start my own business. I initially named it “Cream Salads N More,” but had to change it to “Salads N More” due to name conflicts. I obtained my food safety certification and drew from over 10 years of experience working with larger food vendors to launch my business.

Since I began working for SME Lagos in 2023, I’ve seen a transformation in people’s attitudes toward salads. Initially, many would say they preferred homemade salads, but after trying mine at the three-day event, they kept coming back for more. Even the Honourable Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment (CCC&TI) of Lagos State, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, enjoyed my salads so much that she bought some for her friends.

At Salads N More, we prioritize freshness and quality. Unlike some vendors who sell leftover food, we ensure that our salads are always fresh and never compromise on standards for the sake of profit. I’ve volunteered at schools and events to let people taste our salads and receive positive feedback.

While I’m still waiting for my big break, I’ve had some memorable moments along the way. I once received a loan of two thousand naira to cook and give away food in October 2023. People loved it, and I’ve always maintained my high standards despite suggestions to cut corners for more profit.

In addition to salads, I offer home cooking, small chops, and event catering services to support my business. Despite the challenges of the current economy, I want potential customers to know that we’re committed to providing value and quality. Just give us a try, and you’ll see what we have to offer.

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment