The earliest food delivery service that I know of in Kenya is Dial a Delivery. The traditional way of making the foodservice requests was by calling. Recently I needed to make an order and to my surprise, what I had on my phone was their landline number. That means that the Dial a Delivery service has been around for more than a decade. The Dial a Delivery service is linked to specific brands and especially to Pizza Inn for Pizza delivery. Over the years, food delivery services have evolved. Besides calling, ordering online via the website was once a trend. Today, ordering through downloadable phone applications is what is becoming common. Besides, customers can request food delivery via social media sites. WhatsApp and texting is another way to get your meal delivered.
Before I opted to dial a delivery, my niece had already downloaded the Jumia Foods app and created an account for me. In between the ordering process, the transaction failed, we resolved to make the call. The Telkom landline was no longer operational. We googled for an alternative mobile number. Having not made an order for years through Dial a Delivery, I was happy that they still had my details in their database. The ordering process via the call was easy. We even sought suggestions on vegetarian pizzas. Since downloading the Jumia Foods app, I keep noticing some notifications, I am yet to use it, and maybe I need to delete it.
Today, we are spoilt for choice when we need to make an order for meal delivery. In addition to Jumia foods, one can use other delivery apps such as Uber eats and Glovo to make orders for food. I did a quick research and was surprised by many other food delivery apps in Kenya. These are Take Eat Easy, El- daily Kenya, The Good Food Company, and Yum Delivery. In addition, they are many fast foods such as KFC and restaurants that have their delivery services. During the weekend and public holidays, I often receive SMS notifications from eateries that offer free deliveries. Some have started deliveries this last year to mitigate against the pandemic. Recently I decided to try out a butchery that sells roast beef. Our communication was 100% via WhatsApp. The business owner took the orders and organized for delivery. The quality of the grilled beef was outstanding!
Ordering for a meal instead of preparing one at home is not something my generation grew up witnessing. My cousin’s daughter mentioned recently how her parents in their 60s are unlikely to order for a meal, as there is always food in the fridge. If we often go out for dinner, why would ordering for a home delivery be that difficult? In supermarkets, I have noticed a selection of cooked foods on sale. There is a generation that not cooking all their meals. This generation is most likely the one pushing the rise of food delivery services. The future is one where ordering for a meal will be as good as preparing one.
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy