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Student turns cooking taste into food deliveries

A beaming Martin Kibisu, the proprietor of Lunchbox Deliveries. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
A beaming Martin Kibisu, the proprietor of Lunchbox Deliveries. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Edward Abwao appreciates good food as well as excellent customer service.

Mr Abwao says “for the longest time” he had been searching for a service provider that operates in Hurlingham. Two weeks ago he stumbled upon Luchbox Deliveries on Twitter.

“Someone posted on Twitter the meal delivered to them, I got interested and so far, I am not regretting signing up. Aside from their affordable pricing, they keep clients in the know in case there will be a delay in food delivery,” says Mr Abwao, who works at the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, a State agency.

Martin Kibisu, 24, started Lunchbox Deliveries, a company that delivers food on location within Nairobi.

With constant interaction with food recipes on blogs, books and cooking shows, Mr Kibisu perfected the art of cooking and grew the number of meals he could confidently prepare.

He would serve the meals to his siblings and friends whose critique has been the driving force for him to follow his passion.

The business desires to meet the customers’ needs through offering them exactly what they want, the proprietors explain their competition edge.

“When taking orders, we ask clients if they are allergic to any ingredient so that what is prepared for them is homely and healthy. This is what makes us stand out from other food delivery service providers,” said Kibisu, a fourth year student of International Relations and Political Studies at Daystar University.

Today, Lunchbox Deliveries that started nine months ago, receives between 15 and 20 orders in a day and has signed up three companies to deliver lunch for employees.

Corporate bodies pay at least 40 per cent deposit for the meals charged at Sh250 a plate to be delivered. For this, the start-up reports at least Sh60,000 monthly.

Pilau, beef, biryani and African dishes such as mukimo (mashed potatoes, peas and greens) make the menu, but it is reviewed monthly.

The journey, so far, has, however, had challenges, some pushing Mr Kibisu to a point of quitting.

In the initial stages, the orders were a trickle, yet the company had overheads to meet, including salaries for its five employees and rent.

“I recall in April business was really bad, I had to shut it for three weeks and take time to rethink the business strategy. This is when I came up with the weekly and monthly orders,” he says of the business he invested Sh250,000 — money from his father — to start.

On its return, the business encountered a number of false promises from potential clients who said they would order.

He says there are instances he would stare at the phone for days on, waiting for that one precious order that never came.

It took a bit of time and a lot of marketing on social media for the strategy to post positive results which has since seen the business start making profit.

To ensure that food gets to the customers on time, Lunchbox Deliveries invested in a motorbike. In case there is traffic on the road, an alert is sent to customers through text to notify them there will be delays.

“I take the initiative to deliver the first and second orders to new clients, which offers me an opportunity to talk to them about our products and services,” says Mr Kibisu, who credits his passion for the kitchen to his sister.

Plans are under way to develop a mobile application that will enable customers to get a brief of what the company is all about, the day’s menu and space for posting customer comments

The first meal Kibisu prepared and was convinced that it was perfect was biryani when he visited his sister in Mombasa.

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