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Making a Living Selling Cooked Food in Construction Sites

Vincent Nyoike
Vincent Nyoike Experience

Mary is a mother of three and she makes a living from distributing cooked food in construction sites within Kenol in Murang’a County. She wakes up early to prepare the food she is going to deliver to fundis in constructions sites. Through her business, she is able to meet her daily needs, pay her employee and pay school fees for her children.

How Mary Started Her Food Distribution Business

Mary saw a huge market gap in the construction sites where fundis used to waste a lot of time going to look for food to eat. She saw an opportunity that would later become her source of livelihood. She decided to venture into food distribution business in construction sites. All she needed was a few sufurias, plastic plates, cups, and food to cook.Her business picked very fast without doing any marketing. All she could do was to deliver food at construction sites at 10 am and lunchtime break.

At 10 am, she delivers fermented porridge, chapatis and mandazis. Most of the times, the porridge and chapatis she delivers at 10 am is all bought by 11 am. Sometimes she is forced to go back home and prepare more. During lunch time, she delivers chapatis, or ugali with stew. The stew can be cabbages, beans, kales and meat. There are those who prefer a mixture of the stew and there are those who like each separately.

The demand for food in construction sites is usually high and most times she cannot meet it. It is then she resolved to employ someone to help her to prepare more food to meet the market demand. All Mary needs is to know where there is construction activities going on. She then delivers food to those in the site.

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Startup Capital for her Food Distribution Business  

Mary started her business with less than Ksh 5,000 as startup capital. She bought two big sufurias, plastics cups, cooking pan, plastic plates and serving spoons. The ingredients for the food she prepares costs her less than Ksh 1,000.

Out of the Ksh 1,000 expenses she incurs, her business generates Ksh 2,500 daily revenue. This leaves her with Ksh 1,500 profit for the day. In a good month, Mary makes over Ksh 40,000. She uses the money for her family needs, pay her employee salary of Ksh 8,000 a month.

Challenges Mary Faces in Her Business

Mary's business biggest challenge is to meet the market demand. She however says that it is a challenge she can overcome if she can get orders a day earlier. Sometimes the demand is very high, while in other days, the demand is relatively fair. During the days when the demand is high, she is forced to outsource food from hotels.

The other challenge Mary faces is during rainy seasons. Her firewood gets rained on and it gives her a hard time when cooking. During rainy season, she is forced to use charcoal to prepare food.

Mary’s Greatest Achievement in Her Business

Mary started her food distribution business in 2015. She has been in the business for the last 5 years. The business has helped her to construct a two bedroom house where she lives with her children. She says it was a relief to move in to her own house. When she was renting, she was always in trouble with her landlord who didn’t like her cooking with firewood.

Now that she is in her own compound, she can comfortably prepare food for her business using firewood which is cheaper.

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Mary’s Future Goals

Mary hopes to open a hotel where she can employ more people. From the hotel, she will be in a position to prepare more food for the hotel business and her food distribution business. With only her and her employee, she cannot meet the market demand. She also wants to have a specific place where people who do not work in construction sites can visit to eat.

Mary encourages the young people to look for opportunities and be willing to do odd jobs so long as it gives them money.