There’s no denying that the Kenyan service industry has a major problem. Companies have numbers on their websites that do not work. Try calling them. They keep you on hold for over half an hour, entertaining you with privileged hymns and choruses composed in their praise and honour. This is typical of the banking industry, and yes, this particular example relates to KCB. You will spend Ksh. 70 of your credit on hold. Look, I understand that 70 bob is not money to make your hackles rise. But in a month like January when money has a predilection for pulling a fast one on you, 70 bob airtime is gold.

If you want to be served better, tweet them. Make a long Facebook post, peppered with fury. Then they will be at your feet. It works like a charm.

Come to think of it, it is not just the banking industry that takes us for this ride. Practically the entire service industry suffers from the same infirmity.

I was ordering a 2 piecer chicken combo from Chicken Inn in Langata the other day. All was going along swimmingly until the guy on the other end of the line asked for my delivery details. When I told him where I lived, he asked for the block number.

“My flat doesn’t have a block number, I am afraid.”

“But I was in Madaraka the other day and I saw the blocks have numbers?” He didn’t say it like this. Do not be fooled. His English is overlaid by a heavy Central Kenya influence.

“Not all of them do, like mine. However, I can give you directions.”

“Madam, I have been there and I know what I am saying.”

He kept on insisting that he has been here before, and knows that for sure that all buildings in Madaraka, old and new, have block numbers. An altercation ensued. A little more blood pressure than I started the day with. A mess on Twitter was inevitable. All this trouble because some people don’t understand the first rule of service delivery; Customer is King.

So forget even getting served. You can be served alright, but you might still sleep hungry. Delivery is a whole different kettle of fish. Most restaurants don’t deliver, and if they do, they don’t deliver to your area. Or it costs too much or you have to have a minimum buy. Like they won’t deliver for, say, a meal that costs less than Ksh. 500. They do not care that it is January.

And so on and so forth.

A mate advised me to check out this service called HelloFood. Apparently, these chaps are trying to change the game. It is basically an online portal for food delivery services.

What HelloFood is trying to do is make easy to get food delivered from your favourite restaurants. Especially those around your neighbourhood. Whether or not they have a delivery service. Of course it is a business, so they will have to pinch a teeny tiny delivery fee from your wallet.

You basically go on the website (or mobile app), make an order, write in your delivery address and wait for your food to be delivered. You can pay upfront, or on delivery.

Sounds pretty nifty, huh?

Well, I tried out HelloFood this last week. I first tried to order from Naked Pizza, and then Debonairs. It was confusion galore. Seemed to me like Naked Pizza did not know that they were on the HelloFood website, thus would not accept vouchers – which I was using. Same to Debonairs.

So no food for me. Hello hunger games!

I tried again later. This time, I called the number on the website. At least they did not swallow my credit with their national anthem. A new problem: they do not deliver to Madaraka.

How now? They deliver to Nairobi West and to Mbagathi, but not to Madaraka?

If you know the area, even moderately well, then you would know why that is hilarious. Mada is across the road (Langata Road) from Nairobi West, and is lined by Mbagathi Way on the other. These two areas practically sandwich Mada, but no. They won’t deliver to me.

My phone ran out of juice before I could say hellofood.

I don’t know that I am going to try again. But it does seem like a good idea given the wide range of restaurants available. For example, along Mombasa Road, you can even order from Haveli’s at no minimum charge. Sometimes, you don’t want pizza. You want naan dripping with butter. Yum.

If HelloFood can streamline their service – such as informing restaurants that they are on the HelloFood website, as well as adding locations (like Madaraka), they could take over the delivery industry. It makes sense to use HelloFood for places that do not normally deliver, unlike Naked Pizza and Art Caffe et al who already have their own delivery services.

Truth is, I am too lazy to make food. Cooking is tedious, and I live alone, and by the time the moon takes over from the sun, I am spent. Also, the fact that I can only make three kinds of food (rice, salad and chicken) does not inspire me to visit the kitchen often.

So yeah, I order in a lot. And fellas, do not give me that bullshit ati true African women should be able to cook. Can you build a house? Can you thatch a roof? Can you hunt?

Maybe I’ll try again tonight. And since I do not want to suffer the Chicken Inn guy again, I will give HelloFood another shot.

I will let you know if I’m saying hello or goodbye to HelloFood.

About Author

Author - Akello & a side of raunch (collections of poetry) | Writer - Nation Media Group & The Magunga | Blogger - Akello (


  1. Can you build a house? Can you thatch a roof? Can you hunt? Yes I can, Nyabo! your article is great, well written and with a lot of adroit humor. But I can build a house and thatch a roof, and hunt for a woman. So cook, cook ugali. Cook,rech mothol, cook nyoyo gi strungi, cook apoth moole chak…cook. Fast food is killing us.

  2. Hi there,
    I’ve lived in Madaraka for a couple of months and also love ordering in. I’ve found that when you order over the phone straight from Chicken Inn/Pizza Inn they’re fine with delivering and will even call to confirm your address. However, I’m still trying to work out how ordering online works with them since their website requires a postcode. So until they sort that out, I’m eating their food as they eat up my phone credit. Good luck with the vouchers!

  3. Jay-z was disappointed with every label he called, he said darn, went ahead and started his own. The stories are one. But do you want the service or do you want to eat, because you could cook. If its the service maybe plan to build a food supply and bring change. Great idea!….Meantime, a better referral, I’ve been using Yum Kenya, for a while now, they’ve got a nice cs team and very many restos. The only issue with yum, delivery is too fast you have absolutely no time to change your mind for something else.

  4. Forget hellofood they made me sleep hungry on a Sunday night when there are zero chances of getting food elsewhere.
    Yum Kenya all the way they update when your order is accepted by the restaurant, when the rider picks it up and ETA. You can also monitor the progress online. Professional staff, variety in menu selection and best customer service this side of the sun.

  5. Katy Fentress on

    I will happily offer easy and fast cooking classes to the whole team at (if you’ll write the odd post for free on upnairobi that is)… that way you won’t have to deal with any of this ;P

  6. Nice to see you found a nest on the Internet. Maybe this could be the new substitute for fury peppered facebook posts?

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