Last Updated:

How to Start a Fast Food Business in Kenya

Daisy Neema
Daisy Neema Kenyan SMEs

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.  

Read also: How to start fresh fruit juice business.  

Conduct a Market Research

It is crucial to conduct a market research before starting a food cafe business. 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. 

Read also: How to start a bakery business in Kenya. 

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. For instance, 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 road map for your business. You will need a guide that will help you realize 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 to prepare for risks and figure out how to compete fairly with existing business. 

Read more: How to write a business plan. 

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.

Read also: How to start eggs and smokie selling business.   

Acquire the Necessary Business Permits and Licenses

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

  • 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 with 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 yogurt making business.  

Cost of Starting a Fast Food Restaurant in Kenya

The cost of starting a fast food business 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.

You need the following items. 

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

Due to high prices of food commodities in towns, you can be buying them directly from farmers. It will help you bring down the operational costs of running a hotel. 

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.

Develop a Marketing Strategy for Your Business

The next thing you need to do is to promote your business. You can place banners and bill boards or place posters for your business. Also, you can visit offices and request them if you can be delivering food and drinks to them during the morning tea break or during lunch time.

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 chips business in Kenya. 

Final Thoughts

A food cafe business is a lucrative business if you adopt proper sales and marketing strategies. It is a highly 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.