Finding a silver lining during a pandemic
Samuel is a first-year student at Zetech University, where he is pursuing a diploma in hospitality. When learning institutions closed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Samuel put on his toque blanch (chef’s hat) and got down to business.
“I cook and sell smokies (hot dogs), sausages, boiled eggs and beef and potato samosas by the roadside. I also do home deliveries,” he tells us. “I started the business in August of this year so that I could earn some extra money.”
This was his way of making good use of the free time he had during the quarantine season that started in March of this year, when the first case of the novel coronavirus was reported in Kenya. Before embarking on this venture, he sought advice from family members who have maintained similar businesses in the past. As a hospitality student, Samuel is very aware of health and safety standards. While having a license for a food stand is not a requirement in Kenya, Samuel does proudly display his health certificate for his customers, so they know that a professional is handling their food.
Samuel makes the food in his house and sells the items from a trolley that he sets up in various places around his locale. It is not lost on Samuel that the COVID-19 pandemic calls for each one of us to take personal responsibility in preventing the spread of the virus. To ensure his customers’ safety, he strictly observes recommended preventive measures advocated by the World Health Organization and Kenya’s Ministry of Health, such as wearing a mask and gloves, maintaining social distancing standards, and using hand sanitizer regularly.
Samuel loves cooking and hopes to employ his chef’s skills in the kitchens of Kenya’s finest hotels, and perhaps his own restaurant, in the future. This business gives him the opportunity to sharpen his cooking skills and manage these hard times financially. He sells the smokies and sausages at Ksh25 ($0.25), beef samosa and boiled eggs at Ksh20 ($0.2), and potato samosa at Ksh10 ($0.1). His client base grows each day and he reveals that samosas really sell.
“The venture has gone a long way in supporting my savings goals. I have also gained a lot of knowledge about customer service, which is very essential in my chosen career path. I encourage others to monetize their skills,” he concludes.