Restaurants shift to online amid COVID-19 fears

Restaurants in Kigali are shifting to online to shore up their revenues as more and more Rwandans opt to stay away from public places in the midst of the spread of coronavirus.

The move follows government guidelines that discourage people from public gatherings, encouraging them to work from home and keep a social distance of at least one metre as part of measures to control the spread of the virus, which has been classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic.


As a result, instead of physically going to restaurants, some people now order their meals online through online food order and delivery platforms such as Vuba Vuba and Rush Foods  while others prefer to directly call their preferred restaurants.


Desire Ngamije, the General Manager at Meze Fresh restaurant, told The New Times that deliveries are on the rise while physical presence of customers at the restaurant premises is diminishing drastically.


“Now we are working on making our delivery services more efficient for customers,” he explained.

Benitha Uwineza of Chicken Tonight, a fast food restaurant, said that 3 pm on Wednesday, they had recorded had delivered 20 orders and registered only three clients who came to the restaurant.

“We are radically shifting to deliveries because people are avoiding crowded places and keeping their social distance.  We are working hard on how to adjust with the new situation,” she said.

Albert Munyabugingo, CEO of Vuba Vuba, which runs an online food ordering and delivery platform, said they have been witnessing a steep rise in online food orders since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed.

“We have recorded a 20 per cent increase in only three days and we expect even more. The trend was definitely pushed by COVID-19, since it obligates people to avoid crowds,” he explained.  

Prices lowered, hygiene guaranteed

As a result, restaurants are lowering prices to attract more customers to delivery services.

Ngamije disclosed that Meze Fresh has slashed prices by 20 per cent.

 “We are trying to encourage our customers to get comfortable with online services by lowering prices,” he said.

Uwineza also said that Chicken Tonight reduced delivery charges in order to encourage people to embrace the service.

Regarding prevention measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, Munyabugingo assured that COVID-19 preventive measures are being implemented.

Delivery people use gloves and face masks to protect themselves, he said, adding that delivery tools are sanitised before and after every delivery.

Those who deliver food also have sanitizers for their customers, he added.

“We have always been intentional about hygiene of our deliveries and during this delicate time, we can guarantee our customers that hygiene remains priority,” Munyabugingo explained.

So far, Rwanda has reported 11 cases of coronavirus and suspended commercial flights.

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