Kui Mahihu Kayihura, Branch Manager of Bourbon Coffee Shop at Union Trade Center in Kigali, is one of Rwanda’s young managers. EUGENE MUTARA talked to her about her involvement with the hospitality business and why Bourbon Coffee shops in Kigali are Rwanda’s leading coffee shops. Below are the excerpts.
Who is Kui Mahihu Kayihura?
I was born in Nairobi, Kenya. I am 24 years old. My father is John Kayihura a Rwandan and my mother is Wanjeri Mahihu a Kenyan.
I have graduated in accommodation services in Hotel Management in South Africa. I grew up in a hospitality environment.
My maternal grandfather owned a Hotel in Mombasa and my mother used to tell me to go and work at Hotel during my holidays.
I believe in meeting challenges and deal with them. Life with out challenges becomes boring. I am ambitious but not to the extreme.
Why are you in this business?
Well I also love photography, I love music and I did a course in music and I can do other things I want but at the end of the day I find myself in hospitality. This is the way I have been trained. There is no better thing than to see one cared and treated for to the best you can.
How do you find the business?
Well it is not like in Kenya, but customer care service is growing tremendously in Rwanda. I have observed the sector from two years back, I have seen a lot changing as far as customer care is concerned.
How have you observed coffee consumption in Rwanda?
Coffee consumption in Rwanda is growing tremendously; we now have some Rwandan clients that take coffee on a regular basis.
Previously we only had clients from the western world. We now have about 200 visitors that came here ordering for coffee each day.
A quarter of them are Rwandans. We have also tried to have varieties of coffee types which make almost every client find it easier to consume. We don’t have only strong coffee; we also have lighter coffee mixed with milk or chocolate.
The manager of bourbon coffee shops in Rwanda had a vision of establishing a coffee company when he was 18 years so any idea to improve is very open. We are trying to empower Rwandans with skills, train baristas who can grind coffee beans and make desirable coffee.
What makes Bourbon Coffee Rwanda’s favorite?
We have the best services and have a team that is young, energetic and committed to serve, we do everything needed here to make coffee, and that is to say everything we have is fresh.
Probably, it is because you don’t have a competitor…
No, not at all, even though we don’t have a competitor in Rwanda…we are competing with the rest in other countries.
Secondly, regardless of the best commodities we serve, we still need to offer best services to our clients that are coming from different countries of the world. So we have to try and give them the kind of services they get back home in their respective countries.
We meet some challenges though since it is a new kind of business in the country and we have to be innovative and creative to improve our services.
Do you have any advice to your Rwandan middle-age managers joining the business?
It is the management that matters.
I interact with my team professionally. I respect them and they respect me. It is good I did almost everything during my university courses. I have enough experience because I had hands on practice.
I worked in kitchen, hotel rooms, swabbed the walls and the like. So when it comes to managing this place I know what it means in all areas.
To my age mates, I have to say, they should be themselves and go for what they have aspired for, constructive critics are healthy.
Work on it and improve. It helps you to grow. First criticize your self like the president said some time. In that case you can never see it as a personal attack. Criticism is essential like water in making coffee.