Susan Nakami understands how hard it is to get lunch in Nairobi. If it’s not expensive, it’s unhealthy. “You cannot find a nice, healthy and tasty meal in Nairobi without having to pay an arm and leg for it. There are a lot of unhealthy cheap options and the really good options are quite expensive for the mid-market,” Nakami says. It’s out of the frustration of being unable to find a reasonably priced and healthy option that she and business partner, Niraj Varia decided to start Ki.chen Lunch Delivery.
Ki.chen Lunch Delivery delivers high quality, fresh healthy and delicious lunches to Nairobi offices and homes. It was launched in February 2015. During an interview with Yululate, Nakami the CEO, says that Ki.chen’s objective has always been to satisfy the demand for affordable, healthy, tasty, fresh meals during the work day.
Before launching, the company had a three month trial period to test the market. They were worried that like most startups and SMEs, they might fail to take off. During this period, they spent a lot of time and effort finding out about what their clientele would expect and what they would like.
They deliver mostly to the emerging middle market, expatriates and returning diaspora in Kenya. Nakami says that it’s all about the customer. As with most companies, they receive good and bad reviews. “Customers service is everything in any business. How you react to a bad review can really break you or make you. We try and respond immediately and compensate the affected accordingly, regardless of who is at fault,” she adds.
Ki.chen Lunch Delivery ensures that their menu is not only healthy, but that they have a lot of options for their customers. “If we wouldn’t eat it, then we don’t put it on our menu. Our menu is inspired by travels across the globe. We like it better if it tells a story, or brings back memories,” Nakami insists. The menu has options for vegetarians.
Like for many SME’s marketing is always a challenge. Alongside marketing themselves on social media, Ki.chen Lunch Delivery rely on word of mouth. “Ki.chen Lunch Delivery is a fun brand. We like to do fun things that will keep people talking about us from our menu to branding. This way we get people talking about us. They tell their friends who in turn tell their friends.”
The logistics of delivering across Nairobi was a challenge too. “Initially we had a packaging problem and would have spills left right and centre. We somehow overcame that through research and testing.”
Ki.chen Lunch Delivery joined Yululate to increase awareness for their brand and to give their clients a platform to let them know what they think about the brand by reviewing them. They have since partnered with Yululate to give clients a 10% discount on all meals ordered on their website.
With people getting busier and everyone turning to the internet to find easy and quick solutions, the Ki.chen team believes that it can only get bigger. They plan to set up various stock points around Nairobi to ensure effective delivery. “The market is changing fast, we plan to keep changing with it whilst still maintaining our brand,” Nakami says.