Peninah Ntong’ondu used to work at Pizza Inn, starting out as a cashier and, within four years, rose to become a manager at one of its outlets in Nairobi’s central business district.
She was later hired by an international hotel in Westlands as a manager but quit the job in 2013 to pursue entrepreneurship, choosing to do what she knew best — making pizza.
Ms Ntong’ondu, 30, is the founder of Queens Pizza Deliveries, a home-based company which prepares and delivers the popular delicacy to customers in the city.
On average, she makes between eight and 10 pizzas every day, raking in at least Sh150,000 a month.
“I work alone every day of the week. We deliver the pizzas to customers at their homes and offices,” Ms Ntong’ondu said when Enterprise visited her house in Buruburu last week.
“On certain days, I get bulk orders of even 35 pizzas and hire two ladies to help me out. In such cases, we offer extra catering services to the clients including providing paper plates and serving them at no extra cost.”
Ms Ntong’ondu says she started the business with about Sh200,000, money she used to register the company, buy a small oven as well as market the venture.
Queens Pizza’s menu includes 10 varieties including Hawaiian, Mexican Mince, Sausage Pizza and Spicy Chilli Chicken, among others, whose recipes she thought up herself.
She sells her pizzas for between Sh350 and Sh750 — slightly lower than her established competitors.
Ms Ntong’ondu says she owes her current business successes to her former jobs, noting that she will forever be grateful for the opportunity despite now being their competitor.
“Whenever I got a chance (at Pizza Inn), I learned something new about the business including making the dough, laying toppings and use various herbs and ingredients before my peers started work,” she said.
“Furthermore, the managerial position at the fast-food outlet and at the hotel gave me the opportunity to learn more about business. The opportunity was priceless.”
She plans on expanding her business, hoping to open a fast-food restaurant next year in Buruburu after which she will also increase her pizza varieties. Financing remains her biggest challenge but the sole entrepreneur says she is hopeful of getting a partner soon to help out with daily operations and also getting the capital needed.
“I have a budget of things that I need to buy to enable me run a restaurant. I have managed to purchase some but I am yet to secure a commercial oven,” she told Enterprise.
“I need approximately Sh950,000 to open the restaurant in Buruburu and I hope to strike a deal with an investor before the year ends.”
Ms Ntong’ondu’s lowest moment in her business was when her mother passed away a few months after she set up the business. She says the bereavement almost saw her fold the company.
She went into depression and stayed away from the business for four months. But she eventually picked herself up and reopened in August last year, making a personal pledge to make her mother proud.