The hospitality industry is a million dollar sector controlled by wealthy and powerful individuals in the country. One of the most popular chains of restaurants in Nairobi is Charlie’s Bistro.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of Muriithi Muhoro – the doctor turned entrepreneur and owner of Charlie’s Bistro restaurants.
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Dr. Muriithi Muhoro was born and raised in Murang’a county. He attended Alliance Boys High School where he managed to score a straight A in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
He joined the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a Medicine and Surgery degree. He started his career journey at Mbagathi Hospital as an intern before being transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital where he worked for one year.
He worked at Mathare hospital for 8 years before quitting his profession to become a full time entrepreneur.
During a past interview with CareerPoint, Muriithi revealed that he loved medicine but his heart was more on business.
“I wouldn’t say that medicine was my calling as per se, because that’s the course I found myself pursuing due to my good grades. But I enjoyed it nevertheless but I guess it finally dawned on me that I needed to do something else with my life. I must say that when I realized that I was not cut out for medicine, business was the next option. I loved everything about medicine but deep down something always told me that there was so much more out there for me,” he explained.
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He started his entrepreneurial journey when he was still an intern at Mbagathi hospital where he used his little savings to open a dental clinic in Ngumo. He hired a dentist and a dental assistant who helped him run the business.
He would make Ksh 350,000 in a month, pay the dentist Ksh 150,000, the dental assistant Ksh 20,000, rent Ksh 100,000 and then remain with Ksh 80,000 as profit. He operated the clinic for two years, relocating it to Donholm before selling it at Ksh 1.5 million.
After selling the clinic, he took advantage of the devolution and in 2019 secured a tender to supply medical equipment to hospitals and counties. He also got into the supply of construction materials to supplement his income.
Establishing Charlie’s Bistro
After making some good money from his tender projects, he decided to invest in the hospitality industry. He opened the first branch of Charlie’s Bistro restaurant in July 2017 which is located at the junction of Raila Odinga way (formerly Mbagathi Way) and Langata Road.
He had identified a gap that Langata residents who wanted to eat at a high end restaurant had to cross all the way to Westlands. During the exclusive interview, he revealed that starting off wasn’t easy but the rewards were worth the risk.
“I must say it was not cheap, I opened it to a tune of Ksh 42 million having accumulated around Ksh 22 million from my other businesses and then I took a bank loan of Ksh 20 million. To my surprise the reception was great. When we opened in July 2017, we made a total of Ksh 3 million in sales and have gathered over Ksh 100 million from that single outlet up to now,” he explained.
Currently the restaurant operates several branches including in Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) along Wabera Street, in Kileleshwa at Kasuku center and in Kitengela at OBC Kitengela mall.
In 2019, Business Today reported that the restaurant’s CBD Branch alone is worth over Ksh 180 million. Following his success in the business world, Dr. Muriithi Muhoro has received various recognitions including being named in the Business Daily Top 40 under 40 in 2021.
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Are you sure the above story is correct? The CBD branch along Webera street has now been closed for more than a year and a half now. Not forgetting the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and stiff competition from Somali owned similar restaurants.I’m sure other branches are not operating right now as we speak.