Across many African cities, one of the thriving ventures is the restaurant business. However, access to cheap farm produce remains a challenge and has led to the collapse of many restaurants and hotels. This is because many of the restaurants do not have direct links with farmers in order to purchase farm produce at a relatively cheaper price.
Restaurant managers turn to rely on markets in big cities for materials which in the end, result in the high cost of food sold. In situations where the business is not able to break even or make a profit, the business turns to collapse as a result of cost overruns.
To address this challenge, a Nigerian startup is building a marketplace where restaurants and hotels can easily have access to produce directly from the farm. The startup, known as Vendease, is being led by Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Gatumi Aliyu, and Wale Oyepeju, according to TechCrunch.
The founders got the idea after noticing that their favorite restaurants in big cities like Lagos and Accra have closed. Upon enquiries, they were told that they could not survive due to expensive and unreliable food procurements in the cities.
They, therefore, decided to establish Vendease to solve the problem they identified. The startup allows restaurants to buy directly from farms and food manufacturers.
“We thought to ourselves that if restaurant owners and hotel managers have these problems, let us actually do some research and find out if it is a problem we can solve at scale and make money while doing it,” Kara said to TechCrunch.
Kara serves as the CEO while Fayankin is the COO. Aliyu serves as the chief product officer (CPO) and Oyepeju is the CTO. Prior to forming Vendease, the founders worked for different entities and held respectable portfolios. Kara was a CEO at his former firm while Fayankin also worked as a COO at his previous company. Aliyu held a similar position at his former firm in Lagos and Oyepeju worked on a couple of technology projects for corporates.
The founders describe their latest venture as The Amazon Prime for restaurants in Africa. Rightly so because they have built a platform that allows customers to order anything ranging from bread to grains and meat to vegetables. Delivery takes 24 hours, according to the firm’s website.
“Why we call ourselves that [The Amazon Prime for restaurants in Africa] is because we are deliberate about fulfilling our orders to restaurants and hotels in less than 24 hours. As most of us know, this is similar to how Amazon Prime prioritizes delivery,” Kara said.
According to Kara, he and his colleagues want Vendease to be the “operating system for food supplies in Africa.” Currently, their operation is restricted to Nigeria. They plan to expand to other big cities in Africa in the coming weeks.