Reflections on Q3 and Building Africa’s Leading Restaurant Partner

5
 min. read
October 15, 2021

Last quarter was an exciting one for us. We served over 2300 restaurants, completed nearly 9000 deliveries and generated over $900K in sales. In reflecting, I realised how oddly this business came to be. For starters, how I’ve spent my entire life in the food business. For more than 27 years, my mother ran a restaurant. My siblings and I conveniently went to a school that was 5 minutes from the restaurant, and this meant that every day after school and on weekends, much to our dismay, we’d spend hours at the restaurant. I didn’t realise it then, but that experience shaped my career. The first technology company I started, Musanga, started as a food delivery company before pivoting and later becoming Zambia’s largest freight marketplace.

On the other hand, my co-founder, Emilie, took another route. A year after graduating from the London School of Economics, she became a management consultant. Little did she know she’d have to consult for a global beverage manufacturer looking to digitise its sales to small and medium businesses, including restaurants and bars in Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa. She loved interacting with these business owners and seeing how they hustle through barriers to their growth.

An underserved segment

In our unique experiences, we saw how, across the continent, small and medium restaurants, despite spending over $65B and feeding 600mm people every day, are faced with quality, availability and price inconsistencies that made it extremely difficult to grow their businesses. While a restaurant owner in the United States could rely on Sysco or a Columbian restaurant on Softbank-backed Frubana, African restaurant owners don’t have an equivalent.

That’s why we launched Kibanda TopUp, a B2B eCommerce platform that helps restaurants order their supplies and deliver these to them in February 2021. Our web and mobile platform help restaurants choose from products ranging from vegetables and meat to delivery packaging and cleaning supplies.

After the order is received, the fun begins. We have three distribution hubs across Kenya and Nigeria that process restaurant requests and prepare them for dispatch. We’ve completely automated the last-mile delivery process and streamlined route optimisation, and, in addition, over 15% of our deliveries in the last eight months were completed by electric tricycles, bringing down the last-mile distribution costs even further.

Restaurants love us

Since launch, we’ve served over 2600 restaurants in Kenya and Nigeria that love us. As a result, our average order value has gone up 500%, and over 13% of our restaurant partners use our platform more than ten times a month.

We’ve become an integral part of everyday life for hundreds of restaurants too, and some of our most engaged partners, like Kasee, use our platform 24 times a month.

Building a High-Performance Culture

The African tech ecosystem has made a lot of progress; this year alone, over $3B has been raised by startups, and we’ve seen several unicorns. Still, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the number of multibillion-dollar opportunities this continent has to offer.

However, as the funding increases, so does the competition for the very best talent. That is why Emilie and I are very intentional about attracting the best local and global talent and investors and creating a culture of high performance.

I want to say building a strong culture is easy, but it isn’t, and we’ve certainly had to make difficult decisions about not hiring or parting ways with people who are good but don’t share our vision and values.

A mission larger than eCommerce

To achieve our mission of increasing restaurants’ contribution to Africa’s GDP, we know that building a world-class food supply chain isn’t enough. I know first-hand how most restaurant owners are one financial emergency away from shutting their businesses down due to a lack of working capital.

That is why we ran a pilot with Africa’s digital bank, Carbon, to leverage our data to provide credit and other financial services to restaurant owners. We are looking forward to bringing these and many more products to the over 3M food vendors across the continent to build Africa’s leading restaurant partner.

Also published on Njavwa's Medium blog.

Reflections on Q3 and Building Africa’s Leading Restaurant Partner

We served 2300+ restaurants, completed 9000 deliveries in Q3.

5
 min. read
October 15, 2021

Last quarter was an exciting one for us. We served over 2300 restaurants, completed nearly 9000 deliveries and generated over $900K in sales. In reflecting, I realised how oddly this business came to be. For starters, how I’ve spent my entire life in the food business. For more than 27 years, my mother ran a restaurant. My siblings and I conveniently went to a school that was 5 minutes from the restaurant, and this meant that every day after school and on weekends, much to our dismay, we’d spend hours at the restaurant. I didn’t realise it then, but that experience shaped my career. The first technology company I started, Musanga, started as a food delivery company before pivoting and later becoming Zambia’s largest freight marketplace.

On the other hand, my co-founder, Emilie, took another route. A year after graduating from the London School of Economics, she became a management consultant. Little did she know she’d have to consult for a global beverage manufacturer looking to digitise its sales to small and medium businesses, including restaurants and bars in Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa. She loved interacting with these business owners and seeing how they hustle through barriers to their growth.

An underserved segment

In our unique experiences, we saw how, across the continent, small and medium restaurants, despite spending over $65B and feeding 600mm people every day, are faced with quality, availability and price inconsistencies that made it extremely difficult to grow their businesses. While a restaurant owner in the United States could rely on Sysco or a Columbian restaurant on Softbank-backed Frubana, African restaurant owners don’t have an equivalent.

That’s why we launched Kibanda TopUp, a B2B eCommerce platform that helps restaurants order their supplies and deliver these to them in February 2021. Our web and mobile platform help restaurants choose from products ranging from vegetables and meat to delivery packaging and cleaning supplies.

After the order is received, the fun begins. We have three distribution hubs across Kenya and Nigeria that process restaurant requests and prepare them for dispatch. We’ve completely automated the last-mile delivery process and streamlined route optimisation, and, in addition, over 15% of our deliveries in the last eight months were completed by electric tricycles, bringing down the last-mile distribution costs even further.

Restaurants love us

Since launch, we’ve served over 2600 restaurants in Kenya and Nigeria that love us. As a result, our average order value has gone up 500%, and over 13% of our restaurant partners use our platform more than ten times a month.

We’ve become an integral part of everyday life for hundreds of restaurants too, and some of our most engaged partners, like Kasee, use our platform 24 times a month.

Building a High-Performance Culture

The African tech ecosystem has made a lot of progress; this year alone, over $3B has been raised by startups, and we’ve seen several unicorns. Still, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the number of multibillion-dollar opportunities this continent has to offer.

However, as the funding increases, so does the competition for the very best talent. That is why Emilie and I are very intentional about attracting the best local and global talent and investors and creating a culture of high performance.

I want to say building a strong culture is easy, but it isn’t, and we’ve certainly had to make difficult decisions about not hiring or parting ways with people who are good but don’t share our vision and values.

A mission larger than eCommerce

To achieve our mission of increasing restaurants’ contribution to Africa’s GDP, we know that building a world-class food supply chain isn’t enough. I know first-hand how most restaurant owners are one financial emergency away from shutting their businesses down due to a lack of working capital.

That is why we ran a pilot with Africa’s digital bank, Carbon, to leverage our data to provide credit and other financial services to restaurant owners. We are looking forward to bringing these and many more products to the over 3M food vendors across the continent to build Africa’s leading restaurant partner.

Also published on Njavwa's Medium blog.