Startup Focus | Kitchen Kart
What is Kitchen Kart?
Kitchen Kart is a food company that provides healthy meals for busy professionals. Our services include breakfast, lunch and dinner all delivered straight to your office or home. Kitchen Kart targets single people who find it an uphill task to always cook for themselves, young couples and families. Think of us like your outsourced personal chef.
For those who love to cook for themselves, we offer the service of shopping, preparing and packaging the ingredients for you, so that you can spend as little time as possible in the kitchen preparing your meal. We take into consideration every one of our clients individual dietary requirements. We just don’t mass cook.
Why Kitchen Kart?
I have three older siblings who all have ‘sexy careers’ . I wanted to be like them and get a sexy career as well. I resisted my calling and this led me to various paths – Finance, Law and IT. Strange how life works because I use the skills I got from Finance, Law and IT to comfortably run Kitchen Kart. In fact, I see myself enrolling in culinary school soon!
What Inspired You?
When I was young , I loved to join my mum in the kitchen as she cooked for us. I would watch her carefully select and mix ingredients as she was cooking. I guess my cooking lessons began a long time ago. The love for cooking carried over when I grew up. I can cook in my sleep!
One day my sister and I got into one of those late night conversations and we ended up talking about how there is no wholesome, quick and affordable healthy food. Everywhere you look there are many fast food joints that sell chips and the sausages on the cheap. How many places can you walk into and get a wholesome tasty meal to go that is affordable to most Kenyans? Very few. So two worlds collided – my love for cooking and the desire to see people eat healthy, tasty and affordable meals.
Are there challenges you have faced, and if so, how’ve you or how’re you solving those?
Whoosh! A myriad of challenges. Top on that list is cash flow. Any growing business gets into trouble because of cash flow. We accountants call this the life line of a business. One way you can solve this is by really looking at your billing cycle, cash collecting systems from your debtors and the main one, not over spending your cash flow on unnecessary purchases whether stock or assets that your business does not require at that point in time.
What’s your role @ Kitchen Kart?
I am the creative lead. I work together with the team to develop new recipes, re-introduce old recipes, and revamp existing ones. Look out for our cook book, launching soon. Food can get really boring really fast, so switching up things makes it interesting and jaded taste buds don’t stay jaded 😀
What do you wish you knew before you started?
That no matter how much you plan, that’s not how things will always turn out. The plan acts a general road map and you have to be flexible to accommodate change. Also, the plan acts as an indicator of how good or bad things are going. No matter the direction, do not panic. In fact, never panic. I almost closed down the business when I saw that things were not going the way I had planned but thank God for my mum, who has been around the entrepreneurial block for many years because she is the one who talked me out of it. Glad I listened. My take away from it all is that, business is gradual and has to be built over a period of many years.
What would you say has been your biggest lesson/learning so far?
Remember when it comes to your clients, you can never please everyone, so just set your own standards and compete with yourself. Set boundaries and don’t let people cross them. Also, do not be afraid to be assertive with your team when need be. But don’t get it twisted with being abrasive.
Words you live by?
It is never that serious, just let go and see what happens. Have fun with whatever you are doing, whether it is packing rubber bands for a living or sweeping the streets. When you put out happiness in the universe, the universe returns the gesture and you find things will work out just fine. The converse is also true, so it is entirely up to you.
Where’ve you recently travelled?
I did an East African circuit- Bukavu, Rwanda, Burundi, Kampala. It was interesting that there were no fast food restaurants, where you could just walk in and order a plate of chips and some other artery clogging snack. In fact, like on the streets of Kampala food vendors are a dime a dozen, who make whole meals- cassava, chicken, matoke, rice etc. Oh yes, and it was tasty and affordable. Every day I was in Uganda, I ate a full meal for breakfast, so I didn’t have to snack on mandazi or chapatti at 10 o’clock. Same goes for Rwanda and Burundi.
Ps: If you ever happen to go to Burundi, stop by place called Saga Plage and try the Mukeke. Best tasting fish ever.
Any last words for others out there?
Entrepreneurship is hard. But nothing comes easy and nobody said it would be easy. Hang in there for just a bit longer, but of course re-strategize when things don’t work. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that nothing is static. Your business is constantly changing and you have to change with it as well. Do all that you can (legitimately by all means) to succeed and that I believe that is the difference between success and failure.