Why Nairobi’s new eating areas don’t genuinely feel the Covid warmth

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Meals & Drinks

Why Nairobi’s new eating areas don’t genuinely feel the Covid warmth

Friday August 13 2021


A dining bid at the Hidden Gem. Restaurants are versatile and extremely adaptable, making their maintain playbook as the worldwide health crisis drags on. PHOTO | WINNIE WANGUI | NMG


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  • The eating areas are versatile and extremely adaptable, making their maintain playbook as the worldwide health crisis drags on.

Confronted with diminished commerce amid mounting liabilities, some restaurateurs made up our minds to reduce their losses and pick up since closed their doors completely especially with forecasts showing it may perhaps perhaps perhaps perhaps maybe engage in to 2023 for the industry to get better.

The hospitality industry has been among the many worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the height of the health crisis, inns and eating areas were no-stride zones after the authorities imposed heavy restrictions alongside side closures and dinky working hours that sharply reduce revenues.

But some entrepreneurs appear to be reading from a determined script, believing there is rarely any better time to originate and expand than the pandemic time. If the footfall to their establishments is something else to stride by, it seems they’re unto something.

Right here’s a engage from these restaurant homeowners who opened new eating areas all the scheme by the pandemic.

Fifteen Rooftop, The Curve By The Park

Fifteen Rooftop Restaurant

Rib-perceive steak served at the Fifteen Rooftop Restaurant. PHOTO | POOL

This rooftop eatery affords alarm-titillating views of the Nairobi Nationwide Park.

Launched in January, Fifteen Rooftop has five determined areas – The Chef’s Table is the most necessary restaurant, the Sunset Lounge affords full of life sundown and Nairobi’s iconic structures views.

Karen Macharia, a marketing advisor with Fifteen Rooftop mentions that plans to originate the role started manner old to the pandemic.

“We’re based completely completely internal an house resort and this made things a runt bit more uncomplicated for us when starting out. Even supposing we opened all the scheme by perilous cases, we’ve been successful to this level. Suggestions equivalent to constructing hype old to we opened purchased folks unusual to query what we were bringing into the market and discover of mouth referrals pick up helped get new folks attempting out the restaurant,” she shares.

The restaurant’s predominant location though is the ongoing building on Mombasa Motorway. Karen provides, “the traffic state-u.s.a.discourage patrons from visiting us and sadly it is beyond our administration and hope the come rapidly comes to an halt. Nevertheless, this has furthermore labored for us where these stuck in traffic decide to achieve aid in for drinks, or dinner as they not sleep for the traffic to let up.”

She provides that on most weekends Fifteen Rooftop is stout as folks pick up beyond regular time to spare. “Our partnerships with varied brands provide patrons novel and titillating experiences which defend them coming aid,” she provides.

For Karen, opening a cafe all the scheme by a lethal illness wasn’t a unhealthy thought. It aligned with their long-term map which for Fifteen Rooftop is increasing internal the hospitality industry.

Hidden Gem Restaurant, Lavington Mall


Picket pallets serving as restaurant furniture at the Hidden Gem. PHOTO | WINNIE WANGUI | NMG

Providing Italian delicacies, this new restaurant capabilities rustic decor. Murals of wine barrels and vineyards, wooden pallets converted into tables and chairs, vegetation strewn across the role and a quaint wine shop are what reveal this eatery.

Hidden Gem is owned by James Kinuthia, a wine enthusiast whose old predominant commerce modified into distributing wine from varied areas across the globe to inns and eating areas in Kenya.

“When the pandemic hit home, our wine distribution commerce modified into gravely affected. Hotels, that were the majority of our prospects, closed their doors, leaving us with uncertainty about payments owed to us. To this level, we’re still attempting to get better money owed owed by inns and it is not a easy direction of, especially brooding about some completely closed their doors and may perhaps perhaps maybe by no scheme attain aid,” starts James.

He shares that the likelihood to prevent all wine importation modified into laborious, but necessary.

“There modified into nowhere to create to. Soon after the announcement of the first case of Covid-19 in Kenya, alcohol sale modified into banned and eating areas were ordered to create deliveries fully. We had to prevent importing extra wine and made up our minds to house debt assortment and selling the excellent inventory which modified into more difficult than we expected,” he provides.

Hidden Gem opened its doors in January. Their menu affords Italian dishes alongside side pasta, pizza, cheese boards and chilly cuts.

“After we opened, the authorities had allowed eating areas to give dine-in alternate choices. Being a new restaurant opening for the first time all the scheme by a time when the general public had missed dining out with company and family, this labored for us. Folk were unusual and we managed to get an most tantalizing footfall. We import our cheeses and chilly cuts from Italy to ensure that we wait on the authentic Italian flavours and experiences and our seafood is from Malindi and Kilifi,” he highlights.

For James, opening a cafe modified into continually something he wished to create. Collectively alongside with his crew, finding the time to commit to starting a new mission in the industry modified into the location.

With the pandemic inserting a stop to his entire wine distribution channel, they had to continue to exist and the next passion he had modified into opening a cafe.

“You query, for us to originate a get new restaurant all the scheme by this time, it wasn’t as advanced as the general public would ask. We were starting anew so we did not pick up pending bills from charges admire rent or salaries which I imagine are a few of the hefty money owed some eating areas and inns are grappling with now,” he divulges.

The wooden pallets in the meanwhile serving as restaurant furniture were what they old kind of their storage areas for wine.

“The restaurant is doing refined, given the circumstances, and since existence has to stride on, we’re in the meanwhile centered on building the restaurant as we hope the subject will toughen ample for us to resume the wine distribution commerce,” he provides.

Cocos Bistro, Karen Plains Motorway


Indoor dining bid at the Cocos Bistro, Karen. PHOTO | WINNIE WANGUI | NMG

Njeri Gathara, the founding father of Cocos Bistro had the foundation of opening the restaurant in 2019, at the time, she held a stout-time job.

Her thought got right here into fruition in February 2020 which modified into when the restaurant opened for commerce. The pandemic hit two weeks after and the restaurant modified into temporarily closed till Could maybe maybe furthermore just when it modified into re-opened.

The restaurant takes up an ample role that now which capability of social distancing protocols seats up to 30 folks. Their menu leans extra in direction of continental. Nevertheless some dishes this kind of pasta, wraps, burgers and ribs are furthermore on hand.

“We had to reopen in Could maybe maybe furthermore simply because we had taken up a extensive funding to region up the commerce, rent modified into still being paid even while we were closed and there had been no reprieve from the owner so we had to reopen and give the commerce a gamble,” she provides.

When Cocos Bistro reopened, they focussed extra on deliveries and place of industrial-tailored menus to spice up revenues as folks weren’t eating out as in general as old to.

Njeri additional highlights, “After we started offering deliveries, we partnered with the food transport apps on hand in the market, however, this did not work to our advantage as we had hoped. We realised most riders weren’t familiar with Karen and its environs and we were having our deliveries delayed which painted the restaurant negatively.”

Advise deliveries done in-home are a few of the suggestions they had to put into effect to abet defend the commerce afloat. Menu growth is something that occurs in eating areas over a duration of time.

Nevertheless for Cocos Bistro, being a new restaurant all the scheme by the pandemic, in a expose to defend their doors originate, they presented finger meals.


“We realised as folks started aging kind to the foundation that Covid-19 will be with us for a while, they started attempting to procure meal alternate choices they would maybe pick up of their autos, or on the circulate and so we got right here up with wraps and sandwiches among other finger meals,” she provides.

Njeri urges that working a cafe all the scheme by the pandemic requires versatility and flexibility.

“The uncertainty of not lustrous what’s going to change by manner of authorities directives doesn’t create it easy but I imagine in commerce or not it goes to be significant to weather the advanced cases. We’re not where we thought we would be when we opened old to the pandemic but we’re still right here and determining follow our dreams and provide memorable food experiences to our patrons.”

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