Nairobi — Joshua Kainja, a Ugandan, traveled to Kenya in 2018 seeking to enjoy the country’s scenic destinations as well as try its authentic foods.
Kainja and his friend John Muhindo were staying at an Airbnb in Ruaka, where each day they undertook different expeditions.
One challenge they noticed was that being a tourist in a new country and unfamiliar with local joints it was a struggle to know where to access local delicacies such as mukimo, githeri, nyama choma etc which he had heard of.
“We had to use Google Maps to find restaurants that have local delicacies which wasn’t easy or end up eating fast food which was underwhelming,” the Kainja said.
This gap in the market, saw Kainja and Muhindo when they went back to Uganda developed a social platform that allows one to turn their home into a part-time restaurant dubbed Pieme.
“We thought to ourselves that there are so many people who travel to new places where they want to interact with locals and also enjoy their cuisines. What better way to experience this than have people turn their home into a restaurant,” he said.
The platform was launched in Uganda in 2018, it expanded to Kenya in April this year.
Kainja noted that in the app, a user can list as a host and then create a meal plan on what they can prepare.
“A host prepares the food on order, then the user has to pay before the host starts preparing to avoid con issues,” he explained.
The platform is also cost-friendly as preparing food at home doesn’t cost as much as a restaurant due to factors such as rent, staff etc, he notes.
Whereas local food in a restaurant may go for Sh600, he says dishes prepared by hosts could cost as low as Sh400.
The firm takes three percent of the earnings from hosts and service fees of 10 percent maximum.
Robert Okello, Head of Growth at Pieme noted that uptake of the app has been great with over 10,000 downloads and 2,000 hosts.
“The platform is doing well so far, currently we are planning to introduce Pieme accommodation given that most hosts have had the idea of also hosting their guests, similar to an Airbnb model but now there is food,” he said.
“With this new accommodation feature, depending on your location you will be shown different hosts who make meals.”
The firm, which has spent about Sh66.1 million to set up the solution, is looking to raise additional funds from angel investors and venture capitalists.
Kainja notes that they’ve had various challenges such as limited resources for advertising and getting the best talent.
He notes that they plan to bring in more funding to be able to expand their horizons.