Food & Drinks

Kune’s journey of a thousand meals

kune

A Kune Food staffer packs food at the facility. March 3, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Summary

  • Most delivery services distribute food from third-party restaurants or supermarkets but Kune cooks its food from a central kitchen, with customers paying through Kune Foods website or a mobile app.
  • Head Chef Roman Wamburu says pork and chicken are the most popular dishes followed by beef and goat.
  • Kune Foods kicked off its services in January 2022 after raising Sh114 million ($1 million) of pre-seed financing from local and international investors.

Food delivery services have become big business, thanks to the pandemic. Now Kune Food, a delivery service, has started serving and distributing meals including chapati, mbuzi fry, traditional greens, and Nigerian jollof rice, from its Nairobi’s Arboretum kitchen.

“We saw an opportunity to cater to working people who want to order meals that are not fast foods,” said Brian Samoei, the operations director.

Most delivery services distribute food from third-party restaurants or supermarkets but Kune cooks its food from a central kitchen, with customers paying through Kune Foods website or a mobile app.

Head Chef Roman Wamburu says pork and chicken are the most popular dishes followed by beef and goat.

“We change our menus daily,” says Roman, the chef whose team produces 400 meals daily.

Kune Foods kicked off its services in January 2022 after raising Sh114 million ($1 million) of pre-seed financing from local and international investors. Now they are in the second phase of fundraising, targeting $3.5 million (Sh399 million) to support plans for increased production capacity and a countrywide footprint.

“We have a projection to serve over 1,000 meals a day by the end of the first quarter,” says Faith Mwendia, the managing director. The company has over 70 employees including chefs and customer service people.

Faith

Faith Mwendia, managing director, Kune Food at the food-tech firm's Arboretum facility. March 3, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The commercial kitchen, equipped with locally-produced equipment starting from sealing machines, to food warmers, can produce 8,000 meals a day and Kune has also set up four additional distribution hubs across Nairobi. It has cooking stations, ovens, food preparation, meal assembly, and storage areas.

Through contracted services, Kune has already signed up deals to supply lunch meals to corporate clients and a few retail outlets.

So, how are they managing their meals at low costs, Sh250 to Sh360, considering the high cost of food?

Mr Samoei, the operations director says they buy “directly from farmers and suppliers, we regulate the internal costs of food production and also handle the last-mile delivery logistics.”

Once cooked, the food is put into a blast chiller that quickly lowers its temperature “to less than 4°C degrees because the food danger zone is between 4°C and 60°C,” says Chef Roman, whose career in hospitality spans 20 years, with experience in Kenya, the UAE, and Qatar.

Although a meal can be kept for up to 72 hours refrigerated, their customer demand means they make fresh meals daily.

Chef Roman says the food delivery model is sometimes more difficult than a regular restaurant because “we are doing mass food production instead of one meal at a time. Also, you don’t get customer feedback until much later so we must ensure that every meal is perfect.”