Fast food businesses in Kenya are booming and both local and international brands are targeting this newly expanding industry.
“We are expanding because the Kenyan consumer is becoming more and more international,” said Eric Andre, Co-director at Om Nom Nom.
When Andre first visited Kenya about 20 years ago – Kenyans eating pizza was rare but now it has become the norm thanks largely to social media.
The middle class culture in Kenya is growing and as a result so is the culture of eating out; such visible growth has attracted the interests of international investors.
On the local front, Cafe Deli founder, Obado Obadoh noticed this cultural shift and invested heavily in his restaurant.
“More and more younger people are earning much better money than before and since they are willing to have a taste of different foods, there is a gap and that’s the gap we are trying to fill,” said Obadoh.
“We went into such a massive investment because we realised that the clientele was there, they are willing to spend and they want space and they want a good place to have something – so we decided to give them what they want,” he added.
International brands have already invested millions in having their brands in the East African country.
Japanese restaurant Teriyaki invested a million dollars early this year, along with the penetration of Subway, KFC, Cold Stone creamery and Domino’s Pizza.
Esther Otieno is the district manager of Domino’s Pizza in Kenya, it invested 5 million dollars and has three stores.
“The motivation is definitely there, from the customers because we have only three stores we are not able to deliver to other areas. Many customers have come to us and said hey, we need a pizza place somewhere here,” said Otieno.
Om Nom Nom’s Andre explains that one of the challenges he faces are with suppliers.
“Getting regular supply, all the time, on time certainly takes at least 30 to 35 per cent of my time and it will get better but it is still a challenge today,” he said.
While Obadoh faces the challenges that are more customer based. He struggles to contain the damage that comes about from customers who express their service displeasure via social media.
Obadoh found growth through the assistance of a venture capital firm when they invested a million dollars in Cafe Deli, he feels they helped him grow the business much faster than they had anticipated.