Liquor: End of dial a delivery business model

I owned and operated a virtual bar at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it proved as one of the most lucrative business that I named ‘store to door delivery’.

The pandemic caught basically almost every Kenyan off-guard, many of us tried to adapt and find ways that we can find or earn a living. 

I witnessed as friends and family lost jobs, and everyone was scrapping to any side job to survive. As a young man living in the tough streets of Rongai, I had tried multiple businesses but they couldn’t work.

I tried selling clothes, rented a Kes6,000 a month shop in Rongai selling Crocs, earrings and all types of feminine accessories and clothing you could imagine but no one wanted to buy because where will they be dressing to? Will they dress to stay at home because the government had put up a curfew that had no time frame for small business owners to budget accordingly?  

So I did my research and tried to see where money market had shifted to. I came to realize that many people were spending time indoors. What will they be doing indoors? Watching a movie? Yes, but they will be streaming directly from the internet.

Will they want something to eat? Yes they will, but high chances they have mama mboga delivering it to them or sending their kids to get groceries just around the corner. 

But then, these same people will want to have good time with family member or just some personal space for those who aren’t outgoing.

It hit me that in Rongai where everyone has a the number of a ‘nduthi guy’, a logistics business to deliver fun to their door step would be a killer idea. So I decided to start a small business to deliver liquor. I named it ‘store to door delivery’; and that made me the saviour in Rongai. I would do my deliveries on time and I would be the most reliable because that was where I got my rent from.

Read also: How to party in Kenya’s Rhumba capital, where ‘pesa otas’

Basically was serving Rongai residents. I was a walking liquor store. I became popular and started doing rounds up to Karen. I would deliver during the day and rest during the night because of the curfew.

But this one night I almost broke my rule because the deal was too good. “Niaje, naongea na Store to door?” a voice from the other side of the call asked.

“Yes, you want to place an order?” I replied waiting on him to carry on with what he wanted. He sounded like he was in party because I could tell from the noise in the background and people trying to speak over the loud music in the background.

“Yes I want to place an order but I need it to be delivered right now, I stay in Karen. Please, send me your pay bill number, I need the drinks delivered because I have guests and we are out of drinks. Tumekua tukilewa the whole day nataka refill ndio form isiishe. Najua unaelewa, I will pay whatever it takes.” The voice from the other side replied.

“Please nitumie till number nilipie sahii. Niletee tafadhali.” He said then hanged up. It was past midnight, almost 1am.

I sat there confused wondering what to do; the guy was so determined and seemed to have put all his hopes on me. He texted all the drinks he wanted delivered and asked for my till number. On my end, I had everything the guy needed but there was one major problem.

I couldn’t move from where I was and I couldn’t risk because violating curfew curbs could cost me an arm and a leg. From my room, I could literally hear footsteps of police chasing residents who were out past curfew time.

In addition, the only way out of the street where I stay has a police station before reaching the main road. So if I wanted to make a late night delivery, I had to pass in front of the police station gate to go make my delivery which was impossible.

I tried reaching out to the guy but he didn’t pick, so I decide to call again to let him know that I might not make it and maybe give him alternatives. He called back and I let him know that I might not make it.

He was so disappointed and angry started complaining how unreliable I was. I told him that I do daytime deliveries but promised him that am working on starting late night deliveries.

I never did, dial a delivery business is not hot cake anymore since Covid-19 curbs were lifted and most Kenyans have returned to their local bars. Our demand was much linked to the pandemic as the demand for hand washing points.

As customer footfall in bars increase and revelers find ways to have a good time, in December last year, the East Africa Breweries PLC (EABL) launched a new offering dubbed ‘’Soiree”, an online-party planning platform aimed at creating one-of-a-kind experiences for consumers to celebrate key occasions.

The service sits on EABL’s drinks-delivery platform and provides bespoke plug-and-play event services. The new offering has various tiered customized services with charges ranging between Kes20,000 and Kes500,000, to connect ready consumers and party planners for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, office mixers and more.

Head of Media Features, EABL, Waithera Kabiruthe says bar Soiree packages offers access to premium drinks, mixers, bar set up, mixologists, entertainers and more whilst also connecting consumers to event planners.

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