Enterprise

Hotelier gets second time lucky with online app

NancyTarus

Nancy Tarus. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • When Nancy Tarus was confined to her house during the Covid-19 pandemic last year, she struggled to get a good meal.
  • Most of the food on offer by the home delivery businesses that sprouted during the start of the pandemic was nothing to write home about.
  • On interacting with others also working from home, she saw a business opportunity and decided to run with it.

When Nancy Tarus was confined to her house during the Covid-19 pandemic last year, she struggled to get a good meal.

Most of the food on offer by the home delivery businesses that sprouted during the start of the pandemic was nothing to write home about. On interacting with others also working from home, she saw a business opportunity and decided to run with it.

Last November, the mother of two decided to establish an online platform that allows customers to order food on their smartphones via a mobile application (app).

“I have always been passionate about cooking. I cook meals for friends’ birthday parties or other social events for free whenever I am invited but I decided to make some extra coins from this hobby,” says Nancy, the owner of Tastie Delish Company.

She spent Sh120,000 on developing the mobile application and other expenses.

Nancy was not new in the hospitality sector. Long before the pandemic struck, she had set up a hotel in Kapsabet town which she run for three years and shut it down after recording poor sales. But last year when she saw that few of the hotels were meeting customers’quality expectations, she decided to give the venture a second stub. She opened a kitchen in Teleview area, in the outskirts of Kapsabet town.

She says she opted for the app to ensure transparency and accountability in the business noting that exprience from her past failures had shown that most hotel businesses collapse due to poor management. It is a tight margin business with high overhead costs such as electricity, water and groceries.

In her first venture, she estimates losses run into Sh300,000 as employees also swindled proceeds from the business.

“I wasn’t there at the work most of the time but I later I learnt that workers mismanaged the business. I barely made any profits, I had to chip in to support the survival of the business. This is why I decided to actively and directly manage the business through an online platform,” explains Nancy, who graduated with a degree in Mass Communication from Masinde Muliro University in 2010.

Her online business today sells wide range of food from African or traditional dishes to other Kenyan meals such as sagaa, managu, mukimo, French fries, pilau, fish and pizzas that retails between Sh150 to Sh400.

The app that is installed in the Google store has a database of the clients. It allows customers to see the meals on the day’s menu, pick and order the number of plates they want delivered. It has also Google map to enable the client to show where they are located.

“With technology you can monitor and track your transactions. An employee cannot lie to you that there was no sale that day. You just log into the system and track the payments,” she explains.

In a good day, she gets between 10 and 20 orders in Eldoret town and its environs with most of the clients being are those in offices and few who are based at their homes.

Nancy says the monthly returns from the start-up is approximately Sh50,000.

“We also offer special diets for our clients with health conditions. Most restaurants in town do not allow these clients to dictate the meals they want,” notes Nancy.

The firm has so far employed five people; two motorcycle riders who deliver meals and two chefs and one person to monitor the calls and orders from clients.

Nancy says some of the challenges include clients who are reluctant to embrace online food shoppin. But she adds that she is in the process to set up a small physical hotel to allow customers to sample their food as they look into spreading wings to other towns.

“Most people are receptive of the online business. I hope to expand the business to other towns to allow us the provide quality and tasty meal on good time,” says the entrepreneur.