Bolt Foods to exit Nigeria in December

In a surprising move, Bolt Food is exiting Nigeria’s food delivery market. The exit date is set for December 7 2023, and the company is citing strategic reasons. The move reflects a significant shift in the dynamic landscape of the country’s food delivery services.

Entering Nigeria in October 2021, Bolt Food responded to heightened demand during the pandemic. And it had tremendous success initially. At its peak, the company enjoyed partnerships with over 10,000 restaurants, delivering a million meals.

Despite all that and onboarding thousands of agents and merchants, uncontrollable challenges have prompted this exit.


What does Bolt Food’s exit mean for Nigeria’s food industry?

As of 2022, The value of Nigeria’s food delivery industry was $834.7million. You will recall it was poised to reach $1,719.4 million with a 12.2% CAGR from 2023 to 2028. Competitors like Glovo, Chowdeck, Buyfood, and Jumia Food face similar challenges.

Chowdeck, a Y Combinator-backed startup, recently achieved ₦1 billion ($1.2 million) in monthly order value. This emphasizes its organic growth amid Bolt Food’s exit. Again, raising eyebrows.

The industry’s main challenge in 2023 has been rising fuel prices, pushing logistics startups like Bolt to raise delivery fees by 20-50%.

Logistical hurdles exacerbate the situation. Poor road networks, traffic congestion, and inaccurate map locations affect delivery riders and cause delays. These challenges impacted Bolt Food and the broader food delivery ecosystem in Nigeria.

Glovo, a competitor, is making strategic moves like collaborating with the Chicken Republic, effectively terminating the brand’s affiliations with Jumia Food and Bolt Food. Such strategic moves are a signal of the market’s competitive nature.

Despite Bolt Food’s exit, the industry’s resilience is evident as it continues to attract new customers daily. Convenience and diverse food options drive growth, even as companies navigate challenges in managing customer expectations, food handling, market prices, and logistics.

As Bolt Food bows out, the spotlight is on how remaining players will innovate to overcome logistics challenges, meeting the evolving demands of Nigerian consumers in the dynamic food delivery landscape.