Njeri Gathara: The Founder Of The Karen-Based Restaurant, Cocos Bistro

Njeri Gathara is the founder of Cocos Bistro, a modern restaurant located in Karen, Nairobi County. The eatery that was founded in 2020 offers fine dining experiences and deliveries to residents of the capital and its environs.

Njeri boasts vast experience in the local hospitality industry with over 9 years working for various companies in the sector. She has worked with some of the largest brands in the country leading up to the establishment of Cocos Bistro.

In this article, WoK profiles the entrepreneur, taking a look at her education, career, and founding of one of the top eateries in Nairobi.

Background & Education

According to her LinkedIn profile, Njeri Gathara attended Braeside High School between 1996 and 2007. She then proceeded to the United States International University (USIU) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management in 2012.

In 2012, she joined the 

Njeri Gathara: The Woman Who Founded Karen-Based Restaurant, Cocos Bistro
Cocos Bistro Restaurant. |Photo| Courtesy|

Njeri went to USIU between 2015 and 2018, graduating with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Strategic Management.


In 2012, Njeri Gathara interned at Amazing Tours and Travel. She then joined Meatons Kenya Limited where she served as a Sales Executive between April 2013 and December 2014. She then served as the Restaurant Manager of Meatons Foods between January 2015 and August 2017.

She joined EatOut in September 2017 and served as the company’s Sales Accountant Executive until January 2019. She moved to Glovo in February 2019 as a Sales Executive and served until her exit in November the same year.

She then founded Cocos Bistro and served as the company’s Business Development Manager between January 2020 and June 2022 according to her LinkedIn profile.

Cocos Bistro

Njeri came up with the idea of the restaurant in 2019 and actualised it in February 2020 when it was opened for business.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was forced to close two weeks after it had begun operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic and reopened in May 2020. Cocos Bistro’s menu leans more towards continental. Other dishes such as pasta, wraps, burgers and ribs are also available.

“We had to reopen in May because we had taken up a large investment to set up the business, rent was still being paid even while we were closed and there had been no reprieve from the landlord so we had to reopen and give the business a chance,” she told Business Daily in an interview.

Njeri Gathara: The Woman Who Founded Karen-Based Restaurant, Cocos Bistro
Cocos Bistro Restaurant. |Photo| Courtesy|

Following its reopening in May 2020, Cocos Bistro focused on deliveries and office-tailored menus to generate more revenue.

“When we started offering deliveries, we partnered with the food delivery apps available in the market, however, this did not work to our advantage as we had hoped. We realised most riders were not familiar with Karen and its environs and we were having our deliveries delayed which painted the restaurant negatively,” she said.

To keep the business alive and running, Cocos Bistro did direct deliveries done in-house. They also expanded their menu by introducing finger foods.

“We realised as people started getting used to the idea that Covid-19 will be with us for a while, they started looking for meal options they could have in their cars, or on the move and so we came up with wraps and sandwiches among other finger foods,” she added.

According to the entrepreneur, running a business during the pandemic called for versatility and adaptability.

“The uncertainty of not knowing what will change in terms of government directives doesn’t make it easy but I believe in business you have to weather the tough times. We are not where we thought we would be when we opened before the pandemic but we’re still here and figuring out how to stick to our goals and offer memorable food experiences to our patrons,” she said at the time.