Meet Deji Akinyanju; Entrepreneur, and founder of Food Concept

Deji Akinyanju is the founder of Food Concept-parent company of Chicken Republic and Entertainment Plc in 1999 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. Akinyanju started his career with Accenture in London. 

He has over two-decade experience in IT, trading and the hospitality business within the UK, and west African countries. He serves as a Director of Food Concept and Entertainment Plc. He also serves on the board of the Nigerian International Franchise Association.

After 16 years in the United Kingdom, Deji Akinyanju returned home to found one of Nigeria’s most successful food retailers.“I felt driven to go back and make an impact,” he said on his decision to return home.”It was at the time of transition from military rule to democracy and I wanted to help build an entrepreneurial private sector.”

Today, 42 year old Akinyanju heads one of Nigeria’s fastest growing retail chains valued at about $120 million. With about $2 million (N320 million) in seed funding raised from family and friends, he initially had a franchise deal with Chicken Licken, South Africa but quickly established his own brand Chicken Republic. 

In 2003, he opened a bakery outlet, Butterfield Bakery (a South African brand), which soon became Nigeria’s largest bakery. Deji also own Reeds Thai Restaurant in Lagos and the St. Elmos Pizza franchise in Nigeria.

Akinyanju started his career with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) in London. He serves as a Director of Food Concept and Entertainment Plc.

Since founding Chicken Republic he has grown it to over 70 outlets. 

Chicken Republic is headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. The company is a subsidiary of Food concepts Plc, a Nigerian food based company.

Chicken Republic is a quick service restaurant chain and franchise that specializes in chicken recipes, especially fried chicken.

However, success came with its burdens and challenges. In the early years, his company acquired quite a bit of debt to fund its expansion. In 2008, his company raised an additional $30 million to finance its expansion plans.

Deji eventually plans to open three hundred Chicken Republic stores in Nigeria and a thousand Chicken Republic stores in Africa before 2013.

This year, Food Concepts (parent company of his food retail brands) signed a $20 million investment deal with the International Finance Corporation (the IFC), to improve its safety and corporate standards, and to expand into Ghana.

In true entrepreneur style, despite his many ventures, Deji this year ventured into chicken farming, opening a chicken farm 200km out of Lagos. 

He aims on becoming the country’s largest poultry distributor.