In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of starting and running a profitable suya business in Nigeria, ensuring that you not only stand out but thrive in this competitive industry. Barbecue, popularly known as “suya” in the Hausa language, has long been a beloved culinary tradition in Nigeria. It is a flavorful and spicy grilled meat dish that has evolved from being a part of festive celebrations to a thriving business opportunity.

The Historical Roots of Suya in Nigeria

Barbecue, or suya, is a culinary tradition that can trace its origins back to the Hausa people in Nigeria. Some Nigerians even attribute its invention to the Hausas themselves. This delectable dish has been a staple in the northern part of Nigeria for generations, dating back as far as native food traditions go.

Initially, suya was not a means of income; rather, it was a delicacy savored during celebrations and festivals. However, as the demand for such delectable snacks increased, enterprising individuals saw an opportunity to turn it into a profitable business. While suya shares some similarities with kilishi, a dried meat product, it has a distinct taste and is enjoyed by a broader audience across Nigeria.

Kilishi, on the other hand, has its roots in the preservation of meat during ancient times when refrigeration was not available. Hausas would dry meat, season it with spices, and store it for long periods, even months, until it was ready to be consumed. Today, kilishi remains a popular snack, and many entrepreneurs have ventured into this business, reaping substantial profits.

The Profit Potential of Suya Business in Nigeria

If you’re considering entering the barbecue business in Nigeria, you’re poised to tap into a lucrative market. Suya enjoys widespread popularity, with virtually every Nigerian savoring this flavorful dish. This broad appeal sets suya apart from kilishi, making it a profitable venture for those well-informed and ready to capitalize on this opportunity.

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Capital Requirements for Starting a Suya Business

To embark on your journey into the world of barbecue business, you’ll need to secure capital. A minimum of N100,000 is recommended to get your business off the ground. This capital will be allocated to two critical aspects of your venture:

  1. Grilling Machine or Smoker: This essential equipment is fundamental for preparing your barbecue.
  2. Rental Space: You’ll also need to allocate funds for renting a space where you can sell your barbecued meat. The location you choose plays a crucial role in your business’s success.

Essential Equipment for a Suya Business

To set up a successful barbecue business in Nigeria, you’ll require various equipment and utensils to facilitate the cooking process. These include:

  1. Grilling Machine: This is the heart of your barbecue operation, and it’s crucial to invest in a durable one.
  2. Knives: High-quality knives are essential for preparing and cutting meat.
  3. Plates and Forks: These are needed for serving your delicious suya to customers.
  4. Barbecue Sticks: Essential for skewering the meat.

Key Ingredients for Making Suya

To create mouthwatering suya, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  1. Meat: Typically, mutton or beef is used for suya.
  2. Salt: For seasoning the meat.
  3. Pepper: To add the signature spiciness.
  4. Black Pepper: Adds depth of flavor.
  5. Onions: A key ingredient for marinating and garnishing.
  6. Cabbage: Often used as a side garnish.
  7. Suya Seasoning: A blend of spices that gives suya its distinctive taste.

Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Suya Business

Now that you have an overview of the essentials, let’s break down the process of starting and growing your barbecue business:

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1. Learn the Art of Making Barbecue

Before you dive into the business, it’s crucial to master the art of making barbecue. This involves understanding the entire process, from meat preparation and marination to drying and grilling. Depending on your target market and preferences, you can choose to use ram or beef for your suya. Learning from an experienced suya maker in your area or offering assistance to gain hands-on experience is a smart way to acquire these skills.

2. Secure the Necessary Capital

Once you’ve honed your suya-making skills, the next step is to secure the required capital. Thankfully, starting a barbecue business in Nigeria doesn’t demand substantial funds. The primary expense is acquiring a grilling machine, commonly fueled by charcoal. These machines are cost-effective and ideal for your startup.

3. Procure Barbecue Equipment

With your capital in hand, you can purchase the necessary equipment and utensils. It’s essential to select a high-quality grilling machine that will endure constant use. Be diligent in your research to ensure you’re buying genuine equipment.

4. Purchase Suya Ingredients

While you might not need to purchase meat immediately, you should acquire all the other essential ingredients required for suya preparation. This includes spices, onions, cabbage, and suya seasoning.

5. Choose the Perfect Location

Selecting the right location for your barbecue business is pivotal to your success. A strategic location with high foot traffic ensures visibility and attracts more customers. Whether you opt for a free or rented space, prioritize places where thousands of potential customers pass daily. Location can make or break your barbecue venture.

6. Set Up Your Barbecue Stand

Before you start selling suya, ensure your chosen location is clean and presentable. Depending on the condition of the space, you may need to clean it thoroughly. Hygiene is paramount, especially in a food business. Once the area is ready, set up your grilling machine and other equipment.

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7. Start Selling Your Barbecue

On your first day of business, it’s advisable not to prepare an excessive amount of suya since demand might be lower as you establish your presence. Gradually, as word spreads about your delicious suya, you can expect increased sales.

8. Diversify Your Menu

To maximize your profits and cater to a wider audience, consider diversifying your menu. In addition to suya, you can offer complementary dishes like asun, roasted chicken, grilled fish (croaker), roasted snails, gizzards, and various beverages. This broadens your customer base and ensures steady income even if one item isn’t as popular on a given day.

9. Capitalize on Special Events and Parties

Another avenue for increasing your barbecue business’s profitability is catering to events such as carnivals and parties. These gatherings often feature suya enthusiasts, presenting an opportunity to sell your delectable dishes to a larger audience.

10. Embrace Online Advertising and Delivery Services

In today’s digital age, an online presence is vital for any business. Create social media profiles and online listings for your barbecue business, showcasing your menu and offerings. Providing delivery services to customers who place orders online further expands your reach and revenue potential.


Starting and managing a barbecue business, or suya business, in Nigeria is not only profitable but also deeply rooted in cultural tradition. By following these steps and being adaptable, you can establish a thriving venture that generates substantial returns on your investment. Remember, the key to success in this business lies in mastering the art of suya preparation, selecting the right location, diversifying your menu, and embracing digital marketing strategies. With dedication and hard work, your barbecue business can flourish and become a staple in the culinary landscape of Nigeria, bringing joy to countless customers and continuous profits year after year.

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