Beldina Kirito is a Kenyan businesswoman who had invested in the hospitality industry.
The aspiring business mogul had set up a restaurant in Karen Estate, Nairobi and invested Ksh 6 million only to be kicked out.
Kirito was kicked out of the area leaving her with massive loans to service, here is her story as told by WoK.
Investing in hospitality
In an interview on Lynn Ngugi Show, Kirito said the idea of starting a restaurant crossed her mind during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
During the lockdown, she experimented different recipes and with the warm reception of her social media fans, they spotted a business opportunity.
After consulting her husband, the couple decided to set up a fine dining restaurant since the business, a bakery, that they initially owned had picked.
“we had wanted to expand the bakery but because it had already picked we decided to diversify and open a fine dining restaurant
“We started looking for a location, out target was in high-end areas. We looked for spaces in Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Lavington but we were not getting. Fortunately, an agent that we were working with said there was a place in Karen,” Kirito said.
Kirito and her team checked the place and since it was previously a hotel, it perfectly fitted her needs; it had a spacious gardens for events, a swimming pool and accommodation among other things.
“We talked to our lawyer, signed the lease agreement and paid the deposit. The location was perfect and it didn’t require any renovations
“We did cleaning and a month later we were ready for launch. The opening of their business was presided over by Catholic priests and they started operating,” she said.
Despite the opening event being a success, Kirito has earlier received a call inquiring whether Karen Residents were notified about the event.
“When I notified then, the chairman said the residents are planning to block that event because they don’t want insecurities in the area
“They said that we should have put notices around the area informing residents of plans to set up a restaurant in the area incase there was any objection,” she said.
After a series of meetings, and showing how much they has invested in the same, Kiroto was allowed to host the event.
After the event is when the rain started beating real hard.
“The residents told us that they are the ones who have the final say. Even with the required certificates, they said they’re the ones who decide whether we will have our business there or not
“By the time we are told to move we had done a lot of marketing, we had wedding bookings which we had to refund,” Kirito said.
Before moving out, the hotel had been booked for a wedding, on the wedding day, the residents instructed security guards to block way leading to the restaurant.
This way, guests were frustrated with some being ignorantly told off and told to open gates for themselves.
“We asked them to allow one of our staff to attend to guests but they refused saying the hotel business was a security threat,” she recalled.
It was after the frustrations from the residents when they decided to move out and closed down the business completely.
Having lost nearly everything, Kirito and her husband partnered with a friend to open a restaurant.
“We found a location and moments after opening, the lockdown happened, however, we didn’t give up and after the lockdown we opened again and started afresh,” Kirito said.
It was not time before the business took a toll on them and they ended up closing the restaurant months later.
Kirito also partnered with a lady friend and set up a marketing firm which saw them work with over five companies in just one month into the business.
“I trained people of social media companies and then I started getting companies and we had five companies paying a total of Ksh 75,000 which helped me service the loan,” Kirito said.
With her bakery, Kirito expanded and started offering teaching classes.