Online orders keep restaurants afloat in the face of Coronavirus

Thursday, May 28th, 2020 00:00 |
A food delivery motorider from Glovo confirms an address in a Nairobi estate. Photo/PD/HARRIET JAMES

Nairobi has become a dull city as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a sad toll on lives and businesses globally. One area that has been hard hit by this scourge is the hospitality sector.

In March, the government banned dining in restaurants and drinking in bars as a mitigation measure to tame the spread of Coronavirus.

Millions of Kenyans heeded to the governments call and stayed at home. 

Until the government allowed the partial reopening of eateries recently, many were struggling to remain afloat, with some contemplating total closure or takeaway services.

This led to massive job losses in bars and restaurants as hundreds of businesses sent home employees while others shut down completely.

To survive, many eateries opted to utilise on-demand apps to enter home deliveries market to facilitate consumer demands.

Glovo, Jumia and Uber Eats were some apps that have helped many eateries to remain in business by facilitating food deliveries.  

These delivery providers are now reporting a sharp rise in orders for groceries, food and other critical household goods since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Our role during this period has been to ensure we deliver for restaurants who want to carry on offering food to families at home during this difficult time,” says said Priscilla Muhiu, Glovo’s Head of Marketing and Growth, Africa. 

“We have been able to help squeeze new growth opportunities for several restaurants by optimising their operations to ensure people have access to food they want,” she added.

Margaret Mutinda, the proprietor at Tibbz Restaurant is nostalgic about the days when she served customers until she ran out of supplies.

The partial lockdown has left her and her business dry: she only depends on a few walk-in customers and Glovo, which she partnered with a few months ago.

“I am lucky I partnered with Glovo despite being sceptical at first. We have been surviving on their orders since I have not partnered with the other on-demand apps,” says Margaret. 

“Today, we serve very few were walk-in customers as many people are still opting to stay at home. 

The majority of my business is online. We hope that with the partial opening of restaurants, the business will improve,” adds the Tibbz restaurant manager. 

Customer contacts 

And she is not the only one clinging to the home-deliveries lifeline.  As the world grapples with lockdowns, consumer behaviour in Kenya is also shifting.

I recently ordered from Glovo and basically how it works is you get to access restaurants within your area.

I wanted some local food so I ordered a meal from Rokenia located in South B Shopping Centre.  

The restaurant’s owner,  Susan Mbijiwe said she put her restaurant on the online service last year.

Online services have been a game changer for her as more and more people switch to food apps to abide with the preventative measures.

“This was one of the best decisions we have made to date. Having records on when we receive orders enables her to plan the supply chain in good time,”   she said. 

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