Five-star hotels eye takeaway, delivery service as virus bites

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Rhoda Aseyo, a chef at Villa Rosa Kempinski Nairobi hands over food packages for home deliveries to clients as Covid-19 bites. Photo/PD/ALEX MBURU

Mwingirwa Kithure

It must have come as great sigh of relief to thousands of restaurant operators when President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday April 25th,  in his fifth presidential address to the nation on the Covid-19 pandemic  promised that the State will allow restaurants and eateries to resume operations.

“One immediate step from the work done so far is that we will allow a few restaurants and eateries that show the highest levels of health regulation compliance and the ability to arrange for employee testing, to undertake minimal operations while maintaining measures that mitigate against the spread of the coronavirus. The Cabinet Secretary will announce and release the protocols,” he said.

That announcement excited big and smallscale restaurant businesses, with some shelving plans to declare staff redundant, scale back operations or fold business altogether. There is a ray of hope!

Mandatory tests 

On Tuesday, Acting Director in the Directorate of Public Health Dr Francis Kuria said the eateries must undergo thorough inspection to get special permits that will allow them to resume business under tight regulations.

Some of the measures include spacing seats and tables for social distancing, checking customers’ temperature and having staff tested for coronavirus.

 The pandemic has left many hotel and restaurant decision makers scratching their heads for solutions on how to remain relevant as social distancing guidelines force many to close doors.

One solution they have quickly latched onto is the food takeaway business model. 

Takeaways used to be associated with small stand-alone restaurants —the corner ‘mom and pop’ fish and chips eateries.

In contrast,  the big boys of the hospitality industry curated their dining experiences at their premises, with diners treated to majestic sit-down fine dining, complete with sommeliers ready to impress them with  arrays of winery skills.

But that was before the merciless Covid-19 struck, with debilitating consequences.

Today,  reputable Three, Four and Five-Star hotels have come up with new ways to serve their hungry guests marooned in their city homes.

Most hotels and top-class restaurants have crafted special takeaway menus and partnered with delivery firms with better distribution networks  and experience in food deliveries such as Uber Eats, Glovo and Jumia Food.

Food ordering apps

Others have gone a step further and created new digital food ordering App. For instance, you can now order your favourite Peri-Peri Grilled Chicken Leg and Sweet Chili Potato Wedges, or Peri-Peri Rubbed - Grilled Chicken Leg on Bone, Sweet Chili Potato Wedges   at  just Sh750 from Villa Rosa Kempinski. 

Other top hotels trying their hand at takeaway foods include Tribe Hotel, Trademark Hotel and Sarova Panafric.

“Yes, we have to keep social isolation and distance but we still maintain social connection with our customers.

We have developed a diverse take away menu where our customers pick their favourite packs  in the hotel, or we drop where they want for an agreed minimum number,” says   David Gachuru,  General Manager, Sarova Panafric Hotel.

 Mohammad Mohammad, Director of Food and Beverage, Villa Rosa Kempinski, says:   “At a time like this, giving your loyal and new customers an option of dining at the comfort of their homes reassures them of safety and a peace of mind while your hotel or restaurant brand remains visible and available during the guest’s time of need”.  

 The five-star luxury hotel has introduced a new expansive Takeaway Menu that includes exciting picks from its famous Italian restaurant, Lucca, Asian and local menus prized between Sh750 and Sh1,500. 

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