9 Tips for Starting a Kibanda Business in Kenya

Kibanda Business

We call them kibandas…or rather food courts, the place where a sizeable lot of middle-class wannabes go for a quick bite to keep off the pangs of hunger…And they are very popular, made even more popular by the runaway inflation. Setting up a formal food kiosk need not be an uphill task if you follow the simple guidelines I am going to outline for you right about now….. Aside from being affordable, finding your target market is relatively easier with a food business.

I hope this quick guide will help you achieve success as a kibanda entrepreneur.

1. Write a business plan.
A business plan is your blueprint for success. Writing one allows you to run your business on paper, and will help you visualize all the tasks you’ll need to execute. A comprehensive business plan will be useful if you need to find partners or source funding for your venture. Having one gives an impression that you’re committed to succeeding.

2. Build on one product.
You need to know that a food court business isn’t a restaurant that can offer a variety of meals, so don’t be one. All successful food carts focus on a few products. Just think about it. French fries, ice-creams, fruit shakes, fruits, sugarcane juice…etc. Innovate and offer something new, or compete in what’s currently popular or an emerging trend. Either way, also make sure that you’ll have the resources to manufacture your product by volume.

3. Choose a good location.
Go where your target customers are. food court do well near office establishments, adjacent to transportation terminals, near markets and beside colleges or universities.

Moreover, assess the security and the accessibility of the area. It is recommended that you go to and observe around your planned location for several hours on different days, before pursuing it.

4. Register your business.
A food cart business is exposed to the public. Business and health inspectors will most likely visit your kibanda on a regular basis. That’s why it’s important to legally register your business by applying for all the necessary business and health permits.

5. Excel at customer service.
You are not only selling food, but you’re also providing a service to your customers. Teach your staff to be warm and friendly. Tell them to always serve with a smile.

People often become impatient and ill-tempered when they’re hungry. That’s why it’s important to train your crew on how to handle difficult clients.

6. Ensure proper food sanitation.
Be meticulous about your food preparation and handling. Ensure proper sanitation in all steps. Invest in quality containers and packaging. Be strict with the expiration dates of your ingredients.
In today’s age of social media, you don’t want people talking about how unclean your food is, or how unsanitary your food court is. Additionally, you can be held liable if someone gets sick from eating your food.

7. Develop an eye-catching food cart design. 
Colorful and well-designed food carts can easily attract customers. Use vivid hues of yellow, red, or orange. Make your text and menu display simple and easy-to-read.

8. Be reasonable with pricing.
Sell at a price to make reasonable profits. Make sure that you are on par with competitors. And lastly, assess if your prices are affordable to your target customers.

There’s no straightforward formula you can follow when it comes to pricing. It’s really a matter of finding that balance between affordability, competitiveness, and profit — then adjusting accordingly.

9. Be your number one customer.
Don’t sell food that you’re not even a fan of. When sugar cane juice became a craze, I knew someone who ventured into it even though he didn’t like it. That business didn’t last long.

By being your number one customer, you’ll know exactly what makes your product good. You’ll also have insights on how to properly sell and market it. And more importantly, it’ll be easier for you to innovate on the food.

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