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How I turned a pocket of flour and yeast into business

By Milliam Murigi
Saturday, August 29th, 2020
In summary
    • Diana Wambui Tobiko, Managing Director and Founder of Deez Kitchen, a home-based food business which prepares and delivers food and pastries never envisioned starting a business until corona virus came calling.

What piqued Diana’s curiosity was the low supply of snacks and bread at her local shop. The rest is history.

Diana Wambui Tobiko, Managing Director and Founder of Deez Kitchen, a home-based food business which prepares and delivers food and pastries never envisioned starting a business until corona virus came calling.

In March when Kenya registered its first case of the virus leading to a lockdown, her mindset changed, and she started looking at opportunities that came with the new normal.

The first to pique her curiosity was the low supply of bread and snacks at local shops. It made her wonder whether starting a home-based food business would make business sense. That is how Diana, who originally was a communications specialist, was ready to start her business from her kitchen.

To start off she started making buns which she used to sell to her neighbors who then spent most of their time working from home.

“Starting a business is something I had not planned for. My first batch of buns was made from a packet of flour and yeast I had in the house. Since then, I have been ploughing back the profit,” she says.

What she did not know was that the value chain had changed since most schools and institutions of learning had shipped most children to estates hence the surge in demand from local bakeries.Orders started coming in, she even incorporated new unique snacks and foodstuffs in the supply list. Shops in her estate were her first point of call followed by delivering food on request.

Later on, as the business grew and she needed to expand her capacity to match the demand. From the business revenues, she had to get a bigger oven and a motorcycle to ease her delivery work.

Starting any business in this environment is difficult, especially for someone who entirely depends on referrals and social media to get clients, Diana said that food business has an advantage over other businesses.

Her passion to offer fresh and tasty food made with healthy, wholesome ingredients at affordable prices makes her a trustworthy 'foodpreneur' indeed.

Their prices vary between Sh150 and Sh1,500 depending on the product.

“We are slowly getting our space within the food business. On a good day, we can make a crate of buns, a dozen Pizzas, 24 hotdog buns plus ala carte orders within our Menu. Sometimes we get invited to supply food in bulk which is a big boost to our business,” she says.

And since coronavirus has already wreaked significant havoc on restaurants, she says that their customer base is growing daily and they are constantly experimenting with new foods and drinks to add to their menu.

The idea is to introduce new dishes that complement their already existing menu and potential demand from their target clients. She banked on the knowledge that people must eat no matter what.

Above all, she also understood that people have different tastes and desires in diets, which allow very “niche” food products to succeed.

“Our main menu includes several fresh homemade foods and beverages such, pizza, burgers, hotdogs, cakes, lasagna, fries, coffee, and yogurt,” she says.

Diana realised that those in the delivery-only food business are focusing on the elements needed to delight a burgeoning category of eat-ers with significantly fewer capital resources or overhead costs.

“Delivery-only concepts are democratising access for food What piqued Diana’s curiosity was the low supply of snacks and bread at her local shop. The rest is history...entrepreneurs who want to test markets without an existing customer base or to be physically located in a high foot traffic location to ensure visibility. This concept has the potential to create a whole new segment of food-service providers, lying somewhere on a continuum between food trucks and restaurants,” Diana reveals.

According to her, though there is no right time to start a business, it’s always wise to carry out market research and competitor analysis before going into business head-on. This gives an entrepreneur a clue of what to expect and how to run a business. Diana wants to open a café in the near future though. She is banking on a prospective partnership with like-minded stakeholders to open a major joint in Nairobi CBD.

She says has the passion, energy, and vision, to be the next Macdonald in East Africa. To aspiring food entrepreneurs, she says that since creating a successful food business can be complex, with the right set of ingredients across all business units, the serving will be satisfying and profitable to consumers.

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