NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – If you asked Hodiah Chepchirchir if cooking was what she wanted to do when she was young, she would have giggled and said no.
But now, cooking is what puts food on her table.
It has become so lucrative that she owns two restaurants in Nairobi’s Roysambu Estate and Industrial area.
“When I was young, I knew I was a foodie (a gourmet) but never thought I would make it a business, so I enrolled for a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the Kenyatta University. When I graduated, I got a job, but that did not last for even six months. I was bored, and I knew that was not what I wanted to do with my life,” she told Founders Connect Africa.
Chepchirchir’s firsthand at entrepreneurship began with the first restaurant she set up with a friend. There, the friends set out to sell pork meat and French fries. That however did not work well. They shut down the business.
“I went back home to think about what I wanted to do with my life, but I had to make ends meet, and because I loved cooking, so I started house calls, cooking for bachelors at their houses at a fee. I would cook a whole week’s meal and put it in the fridge, they would just come home from work and warm their food,” she explained.
She got so many clients that she had to get an assistant to meet the demand.
“The demand exceeded my expectations, aided mainly by my social media brand which was growing and bringing in many clients. Some wanted office lunch, other homemade meals, and others were outside catering jobs.”
That is when Chepchirchir opened her first restaurant in Roysambu.
Armed with about Sh400, 000, Chepchirchir signed a partner to start the first restaurant.
The two embraced aggressive marketing online campaign that made them get a lot of traction. Customers kept coming.
The Roysambu branch caters to clients in Parklands, Thika Road, and Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).
“Some of the food we cook include pilau, beef, chicken, chapati, and beef. Our clients are majorly bachelors and students with our price range between Sh200 and Sh350,” she said.
In a few months, she got another partner to open a second restaurant to serve people and offices in the industrial area.
“What makes us unique is delivering the meals to the doorstep of customers. This has helped us to attract clients from every corner of the city,” She noted.
Going forward, Chepchirchir says she wants Chepchikoni to be a known as a local franchise in every major town of the country.
To scale up, Joram Mwinamo the Team Leader at SNDBX urged Chepchikoni to document procedures on how things are done in both restaurants.
“When it comes to documentation, you have to document everything; from how you open in the morning to how you take stock of the foods there, how you go about planning your meals and cooking so as you have consistent quality, so that the food tastes the same, no matter who is cooking,” he advised.
Mwinamo emphasized on the need to maintain quality standards.
“To build a brand, people buy into the consistency, the meat will always taste a certain way, she should make sure she standardizes how things are done in all restaurants,” he added.