How to Start a Fast Food Business in Kenya

Starting a fast food business in Kenya is a lucrative business idea. There are many people working in towns, and they need a place to take breakfast or lunch. Many of these people prefer eating in restaurants and hotels. You can also start a fast food business and start making food deliveries in offices. Although the fast food business is competitive, you can succeed if you identify a different way of doing things from other businesses.    

Conduct a Market Research

It is crucial to conduct a market research before starting a food cafe business. A market research will help you identify market opportunities. You can conduct market research by talking to people already in the business. Try to find out what works and what doesn't work. For instance, you may need to know which is the commonly bought food.

Excellent market research will help you identify your target customers, their food preferences. It will also help you identify the best business location. Attending business networking events will help you meet entrepreneurs with valuable information in this business. 

Business Location 

Consider setting up your business in a place with a high number of foot-traffic. Places near institutions like colleges and busy market centers are ideal places to set up a fast food business. Depending on your business research, you can set up your business in an area with offices if you are targeting office workers. 

Write a Fast Food Business Plan

A business plan serves as a road map for your business. You will need a guide that will help you realize the short- and long-term goals of your fast food business. Outline the startup costs, sources of startup capital, risks, strengths, revenue projections and weaknesses of your business. A business plan will help you prepare for risks and figure out how to compete fairly with existing businesses. 

Register your Fast Food Business

It is important you register your business name for branding. Business names are important for brand identity and recognition. A business name should be impressive and easy to remember. It should also depict what the business is about. You can seek branding services from a professional to help you come up with an impressive brand name.

Once you have identified a business name, you need to register it so that no one else can use it. You can register the business name online through the eCitizen portal. Fill business registration forms and provide your national ID and KRA PIN for registration.

Acquire Licenses for Food Business in Kenya 

Failure to register your food cafe business will land you in trouble with the authorities. You can get business permits and licenses from your County governments offices. You need the following restaurant licenses in Kenya. 

  • A single Business Permit. You can obtain a single business permit from the City Council. A single business permit goes for around Ksh 5,000 annually, but it depends on the size of your business. 
  • A Food and Hygiene License. You need to obtain a food safety certificate to ensure that the food you sell is safe for consumption. A health officer will come to inspect your business premises to ensure that the place is clean and safe for food preparation before they certify your business. You can start your business upon receipt of the certificate. You will also need a Food Handler's certificate. 
  • Fire Safety Certificate. All businesses in Kenya must be Fire Safety Certified. Since your fast food business involves the use of fire, you need fire extinguishers to manage any fire mishaps. A fire inspector will visit your premise for inspection, and if you are in compliance, you will be issued with a fire safety certificate.

Read more: How to start a yogurt making business.  

How Much Do I Need to Start a Fast Food Business in Kenya? 

The cost of starting a fast food restaurant in Kenya depends on your business size and the area of operation. Starting a fast food business in urban areas is expensive compared to the suburbs. You can start a small fast food business with Ksh 80,000 and expand the business with the demand.

Requirements to Start a Fast Food Business in Kenya

You need the following items to start a fast food business in Kenya. 

  • Furniture
  • Refrigerator 
  • Cooker 
  • Microwave 
  • Shelves 
  • Gas cylinders 
  • Utensils
  • Blender 
  • Cooking stoves
  • Jiko

Due to high prices of food commodities in towns, you can buy farm produce directly from farmers. It will help you lower the operational costs of fast food business. 

What to Sell in a Fast Food Business 

The location of your business will determine what food you can sell. However, most fast food businesses sell foods like hot dogs, fried chicken, pizza, ice cream, kebab, chips, salads, hamburgers, cakes and soft drinks.

For business consultancy, strategic planning, organizational development, market research, financial management & accounting, risk management and business plan writing at an affordable fee, please reach out to us through a phone call 0728 621 138 or WhatsApp, or email:

Develop a Marketing Strategy for Your Fast Food Business

The next thing you need to do is to promote your business. You can place banners and billboards or place posters for your business. Also, you can visit offices and ask them if you can deliver food and drinks to them during the morning tea break or during lunchtime.

You can start by offering free delivery services and giving discounts until you establish your business. It is an excellent way to retain your customers and to keep new ones coming in.

Read also: How to start a pizza business. 

Is Fast Food Business Profitable in Kenya? 

Yes. Fast food businesses are very profitable, especially those operating in urban areas. Many people working in towns prefer to eat at fast-food restaurants. The demand for food is high, especially during lunchtime. With a busy fast food restaurant in a town, the minimum profit you can make is Ksh 40,000. 


A food cafe business is lucrative if you adopt proper sales and marketing strategies. However, it is very competitive, and you need to be creative and determined to succeed. You can learn how to prepare unique recipes that your competitors do not offer. Also, strive to offer excellent customer service and create friendships with your customers. This way, you can get loyal customers.

Read More 

This article was updated on January 12, 2024

Nexin Startups

Nexin Startups is a business and financial literacy portal that aims at imparting readers with business ideas, entrepreneurial skills and financial management skills.