As I sauntered slowly into the cafeteria on a very hot Tuesday afternoon, like most afternoons are these days, I noticed an unusually long queue at Fanawole. While this was surprising, the more surprising incident was the relative absence of customers at Prestige. I thought this to be a one-time thing; those once in a blue moon occurrences, however a repeat of this occurred the following day. Fanawole had become the talk of the town (well, of the hall) and everyone’s favourite. How did this come to be? One step at a time or all at once?

I had conversations with recent converts of the gospel of St. Fanawole, as well as with age-long believers and it was revealed that Fanawole’s ascension rode on the backs of the laxity of Prestige. It is no news that there have been complaints as regards customer service at Prestige. I have witnessed several arguments that could have been avoided with good customer service. The customer service at Fanawole was said to be a lot better than that at Prestige. There’s the beautiful woman that knows everyone’s name, customers are attended to promptly and to their utmost satisfaction. In addition to this, the disparity in the quantity of food sold by Fanawole is quite ridiculous. I must admit that this is perhaps the major catalyst for the change we see. Many equated Fanawole’s 2 spoons of rice to Prestige’s 4 spoons; and their meat or fish as head and shoulders clear. While giving credit to their increased quantity, Fanawole should also be applauded for their improved quality. This improved quality has helped with customer retention.

A Change in the normal order of things

It is important to consider the 2019 and 2021 class who have had no prior commitment to any of the two. It becomes naturally easier for them to patronize Fanawole more just on the basis of their increased quantity of food and better customer service. In addition to this Prestige, for some reason, lock their freezer around 8-9pm. And with how hot it is these days, we definitely need our drinks cold and “sweating”.

Of course some people have stuck with Prestige regardless. For some it was a case of “the devil you know”, some just couldn’t get past the not so good meals they got at Fanawole or just still prefer Prestige’s quality of food, and others just find the change unnecessary or stressful. There’s also the fact that while Fanawole charges ₦20 on transfers, Prestige charges nothing. However, those that have stuck with Prestige are reaping the benefits of Fanawole’s improvements. Now, whenever I patronize Prestige, I get answered promptly with a little “How are you?” to go with it on some days. The quantity of food has increased and the stew on my rice does not finish way before the rice. The monopoly which Prestige had is slowly being broken and the improvements we have continuously clamoured for have been forced by competition. Now we slowly approach the much needed balance, like all things in life should be.

Finally, while we enjoy the battle for supremacy that is currently going on and hope to reap the dividends of healthy competition, I’ll like to add that the good old days are missed. The times when we could come back at 3am and still get food at Prestige or a drink at Fanawole. You can not help but wonder if things will ever go back to how they were. Or maybe the good old days are gone for good.

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