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Friday, March 27, 2009

Kenyan Restaurants are (sometimes) their worst enemies

Kenya is hurting. Kenyan consumers are hurting. Kenyan exporters are hurting. Kenyan businesses are hurting.

I do not understand Kenyan businesses... they refuse to cater to the consumer.

Whereas inflation (higher wages, higher fuel costs, higher taxes) is a problem for businesses, Kenyan consumers' discretionary spending power is down - substantially - but the businesses keep on raising prices... and that will continue reducing consumption OR drives consumers to substitutes.

I have been a regular at various mid-priced restaurants & food courts around Nairobi... and everything I usually order was up in price since late 2008.

Fresh Juices: From 120 to 150 (25%) - I substitute juices for sodas but...
Sugarcane Juice: 60 to 70 (17%)
Chips: 120 to 150 (25%) - since I am cutting down on greasy foods this doesn't hurt me much
Bhajias: 120 to 150 (25%) - since I am cutting down on greasy foods this doesn't hurt me much
Sodas: 40 to 50 (25%) - On the way out for me
Ice-cream: 90 to 110 (22%)
Beer: 100/120 to 120/150 (20-25%) - At this rate I will be a teetotaler
Smallish samosas: 6 for 100/- (a plate) to 3 for 100/- (50%)

Perhaps... it is time for Kenyans (Nairobians) to stop frequenting these restaurants!

I would rather meet up with friends at an outdoor spot OR at someone's house (with a nice garden), buy beer & sodas from Nakumatt (or have a keg delivered), cook/bbq at home!!! Buy juices in bulk or packs from a supermarket. Even hire a cook or self-cook and since cleaning up is a chore... so hire a maid/servant for a day or evening... and the overall cost is 50% of the restaurant bill. If not less.

I know a group/chama that has built a banda at one of the member's 'backyard' and they meet every so often. They share the cost (& can each invite one other family) by 'charging' an annual fee as well as costs per get-together. Granted the banda is free but it is not fancy... a few chairs, tables & sofas... they even hire extra security on the day. And the cooking is self-cooking though they hire a few folks to clean, cut & dice the 'raw' food...

They have all the fun at 1/2 the cost...

6 comments:

porky gourmand said...

Cook for yourself it is fun... Their is great & non-pretentious food to be had at mwananchi level eateries. Middle market restaurants don't cut it at the moment. At upmarket level the food is alright but seems a little dated.

Anonymous said...

But the banks all seem to be announcing astronomical profits. Explain that to me.

Aren't the restaurants also paying more for THEIR food and passing on these increased costs to the consumer (aka "you").

Loco said...

Interesting post. I like the DIY suggestions. If everyone chips in for a home based brie, not only does it help in terms of cost cutting but the crowd and environment is much more controlled.

MainaT said...

Order a freshly made airburger next time.
Seriously though, I have an aversion to restaurants. Because many can't match homecooking.

PKW said...

Not to miss out on the social scene, can also to eat at home and go hang out for drinks only!

mystic said...

I am with you when it comes to the nice garden with beer and soda. I kept wondering why you go by coldtusker but now I think I know. lol