Food deliveries keep restaurants going amid poll slowdown

Glovo head of marketing for sub-Saharan Africa Priscilla Muhiu (centre). PHOTO | COURTESY

Dine-in restaurants are facing another cycle of tough business this election period.

As some food outlets around Nairobi kept their doors open on Tuesday, restaurants with dine-in services reported a 70 percent drop in customers.

Some outlets under food chains of Kilimanjaro, Java and ArtCaffe which were open said the massive drop in customer flow has continued days after the voting.

The elections come at a time when most businesses step up their marketing in hope of going back to the pre-pandemic period, jumping into delivery platforms to capture more customers and increase revenue.

The outlets, however, report normal business in food delivery.

“For now compared to other days we have been down (customer flow) like 70 percent. Food delivery is normal; like now customers are buying chicken thighs that are on offer,” said a waiter in one of the outlets.

Delivery company, Glovo said it witnessed slow business on the election day as most food and grocery stores remained closed to allow their staff to go and vote.

However, the platform saw reported activity towards the evening as families congregated in their homes to wait for results.

“The election period has been interesting for online delivery. First, in the days preceding the polls, we noticed a general shift towards groceries shopping. This shift was probably aligned to what was happening offline: Customers were emptying supermarket shelves to stock their own kitchens and pantries for the election period,” stated Glovo.

“Another interesting characteristic of the election day is the variety of products that customers ordered from the platform. Customers seem to have bought a much wider variety of products on the app than it usual, perhaps because the local stores that they would typically walk into were closed.”

The restaurant sector was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

It has had a cyclic development with periods of expansion on economic growth, a drop under pandemic, recovery on rising consumer spending and relaxation of restrictive measures.

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