By Samson Willie & Chioma Okonkwo
Alhaji Oyeyemi Taofeek, the Managing Director of Alpha Bread, is a baker with a difference. Educated up to the technical school level, he has more than a hundred staff in his employment, with his employees including graduates. The baker believes the employment he has given to people is part of his contribution to nation-building. He attended Oniwaya Secondary School, Agege, Lagos State.
After leaving technical school, Taofeek plunged headlong into the food stuff business before joining his father‘s bakery where he and his siblings received training in baking for many years. He moved on after the apprenticeship to start his own bakery business 18 years ago. The road was not smooth at the beginning, but God has since paved the way for success. According to him, creativity is one of the secrets of his success in business.
He spoke with Sunday Vanguard on his latest innovation, coconut bread, which he proudly said is among the best brand of bread in Lagos and environs. His words: “To succeed in business you must embrace hard work. You must also ensure that the best ingredients and materials are used to make your products.
In my case, l use specific and adequate amounts of recipe and measurement needed to get the best quality and l don’t compromise quality. When you work hard and do your work perfectly, it will bring good outcome. There is nothing as good as doing your best in all endeavors because you never can tell who is watching.
“Our creativity and innovation distinguish our breads from those of our competitors. That is why God has put us ahead of others in this business of baking and we are yet to get to the peak that we target in the bread industry. We hope to be a household name in Nigeria. That is why we try to improve on our products everyday to satisfy our numerous customers. We started small but our products have increased over time to include butter bread of different sizes, coconut bread and tea bread. We are starting egg bread soonest”.
On distribution, he explained: “We have different buses and vans that we send to different locations in Lagos. Simply because people already know the value of our products, virtually everything we sent out is sold out. Meanwhile, some customers call us on phone to make specific orders”.
Speaking on government approval of his bakery, Taofeek explained, “We secured the approval of NAFDAC many years ago and they have done many visitations to our factory and that has given us more confidence to aspire for greater heights”. He said the challenges in the sector include high prices of ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, etc., urging government to initiate measures that could bring down the prices of bread in the country.
The Alpha Bread MD was proud to have been instrumental to many people earning their living through his company, saying, “There are graduates among them. I feel that is my contribution to employment and nation-building”