NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – Over 60 companies across major Kenyan cities are now using a lunch-ordering app dubbed M-Kula developed by Sodexo Kenya.
The app rides on the amendment to the Finance Act 2014 that exempts from taxation food offered to employees for up to Sh48,000 every year, the equivalent of Sh4,000 a month.
M-Kula promises to boost staff productivity, retention and companies’ profitability by providing affordable lunch packages.
The service which is available on IOS and Android platforms also allows customers to pay for meals delivered to the office. Employees who enroll for the service are able to make savings attributable to tax exemptions.
To bolster the reach and convenience, Sodexo Kenya has partnered with over 200 food outlets including stalls, Jumia Food, Java, Debonairs, Nyama Mama among others.
“We settled on digital lunch vouchers because food is a very important component in the labour market yet it is often ignored. Food helps drive productivity and motivation and ultimately a company’s bottom line. Numerous studies have shown that there is a world of difference between companies that offer their staff lunch and those that don’t. We have also proven it here in Kenya,” said Neil Ribeiro, the CEO of Sodexo Kenya.
Upon signing for the M-Kula service, a company is given an account with details of the employer, and the amount each employee is entitled to in meal allowance per day.
Once the order is confirmed and payment made, the electronic voucher is disbursed to the employees.
The employees can then go to any of the over 230 restaurant that accepts M-Kula services, order and pay in the same way customers purchase goods and services through Mpesa.
“Technology offers companies one of the cheapest and innovative ways that balances between staff’s well-being and the company’s profitability. M- Kula, for example, provides a unique opportunity for organizations to embrace a new tax-free incentive to their staff thereby increasing employee engagement and motivation,” he said.
Sodexo Kenya is now planning to scale the service across the country while entering into more strategic partnership.
“There is an impressive motivation among employers in Kenya who have seen business sense by realizing that it takes more than a pay cheque to keep the Kenyan workforce happy. With an estimated three million employed Kenyans, less than one percent are fed by their employers and so we see a lot of opportunity in the coming years,” Ribeiro added.