Who still eats at Mr Bigg's restaurants in Ibadan?


Mr Biggs Iwo RoadI have a confession to make, I started eating out at Mr Bigg’s – specifically the one at Are, opposite SS Peter and Paul Seminary in Bodija Ibadan.

The meat pie then was hot and filled with meat. And as I moved from one part of Nigeria to another, I remained a loyal Mr Bigg’s customer – in Abuja, Lagos, Owerri, Abia, Port Harcourt, Akure and several others.

During the course of my sojourn marked with loyalty to the brand, I discovered and fell in love with the restaurant’s various unique cuisines including beef burger, bread, fried rice, chicken and salad. But from around 2009, I began to discover a gradual decline in the quality of their products and services.

I can never forget finding insects and worms in my salad in Owerri. When I finally got back to Ibadan, I realised the quality of service has deteriorated here to.

Sometime last year, a friend came from Jos to visit me in Ibadan, I told him to wait for me at the outlet at Iwo road. He ordered fried rice and chicken. He couldn’t believe his eyes when they gave him very cold rice and chicken.

Furthermore, this particular branch is presently more or less a reception and free meeting point. You would not be surprised to see 30 people in the restaurant with just 3 people eating food. Which means the ratio of people eating to those sitting down talking, doing nothing or just watching TV is about 1:10.

Another interesting thing about the restaurant is its toilet’s reputation as the point of call for anyone who is deeply pressed in the vicinity. And its staff could be annoying sometimes. I remember a scenario where there like 8 customers waiting to be attended by just one staff. The short dark complexioned female manager came around and one of us asked why there was just one staff. She was saucy with her response to the old man’s question.

I also got a taste of their bad service when I had to spend about 20 minutes before I could get my change.

But at the one at Idi Ape which I visit a lot, the quality of service is significantly better. They have bigger space and nicer workers. There is a lil problem though, you cannot eat in peace. There will always be someone asking you for money, begging you to buy food for him, or watching your mouth as you eat. You can’t do anything because there are workers expected to do that.

I also had a rude shock around last year when I was eating and working on my PC. A psychiatric patient accosted me and I had to endure her going through my email. She also sent messages to President Jonathan, Obasanjo, editors of PUNCH and ThisDay newspapers.

Because of these and several other issues, you may not see individuals with good exposure lounging or eating at Mr. Bigg’s. The brand is on a spiral downfall and on the scale of 1 to 5, I will give the brand just 0.5 because it is more or less a well painted ‘buka’ that has light and people can just come to sit, robbers can come to check out who has money and who they can rob easily.

For people like me who still believe so much in the brand, we can only hope the brand owners would do something drastic and improve the quality of services due to the numerous restaurants that offer superior services. Unless I have a reason to, I don’t se myself sitting to eat at any Mr. Bigg’s restaurant in Ibadan because if you are not worried about the heat due to the bad air conditioning systems, you would lose appetite when you see the facial expressions of their staff that suggest they are not being paid well and could use the crumbs that fall off your plate.


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