By Prudence Minayo
Vanessa Bwibo is the founder of Bwibo restaurant located along Kanjata Road, Lavington. Away from offering mouth-watering delicacies and drinks, the establishment is famed for its ambience. Prior to committing fully to the food business, Vanessa had a well paying job. However, she did not like the everyday work routine. Not only was it tiresome but she also realized that she was working hard to build someone else. Three months into the job she quit to focus on making food. After all, she felt there was nothing to be lost by resigning since she was still very young.
Here is the entrepreneurial journey of Vanessa Bwibo as told by WoK.
DON'T MISS: Stay informed with the latest news and interact with us on Instagram.
Vanessa Bwibo loved cooking and freely shared her recipes on social media platforms. Users of the various social media platforms loved what she posted as they were pleasing to the eye.
Her turning point came when her followers asked her to prepare a meal for them. This is how the idea to cook and sell to customers was born.
“I started my business online. It was a hobby that I used to do, cooking on Instagram and showing people my recipes. One day some guys requested that I make for them what I had made on Instagram and that was the first pay I got out of my ‘hobby’ that turned into business. I saw an opportunity and dawned on it”, she told The Standard of her humble beginnings.
From her mother’s kitchen, Vanessa Bwibo began cooking and delivering her meals to customers. She marketed the business on social media and this proved very effective. Her clients also played a pivotal role in the growth of her business by spreading the good news to family and friends. The business grew so fast that the kitchen was often flooded with food for sale.
People loved how aesthetically pleasing she presented her food, prompting more people to place orders with her.
JOIN US: Stay informed with the latest Kenyan news and join the conversation on Telegram.
In the same interview, she revealed that her business started with an initial capital of Ksh20,000.
Starting a restaurant
When the pandemic hit, a lot of eateries started delivering food and to beat the competition she had to stand out. She started cooking fries and burgers using her own style and recipe and people loved it.
When it was time to open her restaurant, she chose a location that was convenient. Most of the client deliveries she did prior to opening the restaurant were in Kileleshwa, Kilimani and Westlands. She constructed the structures around the restaurant from scratch and made sure it was at par with her target clients.
Today, the restaurant is known for its food, tasty furnishings and the serenity amiss in most establishments of the kind. They also serve drinks and offer live performances on selected nights.
Challenges and Advice to Entrepreneurs
She has faced several challenges in her business. Vanessa cited Power outages during live performances as one of the issues that affect business. She told Hustle Yangu that in a restaurant business one can’t please everyone all the time. There will be times when customers get disappointed but the key thing is to always do your best.
Another challenge has been getting people to take her seriously because of her age. She told The Standard that to deal with this, she gives her best and lets the results showcase her skills. The other challenge is the fear of failure. During moments when she is down, she encourages herself and continues to stay true to her vision.
The University of Nairobi Economics and Statistics graduate in a past interview encouraged entrepreneurs to go for their dreams without looking at the obstacles. She also advised entrepreneurs to focus on the goal rather than chasing the money and the rest will fall in place.
Bwibo Restaurant was listed among the 43 entertainment joints facing closure due to noise pollution. The Nairobi Liquor Licensing board addressed a memo to sub county administrators informing that there is an ongoing process of rescinding and closing down the joints. They noted that despite arrests, the club owners had neglected to comply with the set protocols. The liquor board said it had received several complaints from a number of residents associations and the public over noise from these premises. They noted that the County Environment Compliance and Enforcement Officers had also gotten grievances.
This directive came after Kileleshwa ward representative Robert Alai asked relevant authorities to crack down on some entertainment joints which he believes are disturbing peace and tranquility. Bwibo restaurant was among the clubs he accused of noise pollution.