Duncan Muchangi is the outgoing country manager for Hellofood Rwanda, an international online food ordering and delivery platform that works with various hotels and restaurants to deliver food to clients at a venue of their choice.
You are leaving Hellofood Rwanda. When did you join the company, and how was your tenure in the Rwandan market?
I joined the company in November 2013, and my first assignment was launching Hellofood in Rwanda. I’ve had an incredible entrepreneurial journey launching and growing the global food ordering platform in Kigali.
The beginning was tough, having to learn the new market and business culture. However, with great awareness & growing support from eager tech-savvy customers, I was able to grow the business from a few orders every day to the many thousands of meals we deliver every month. In less than two years, restaurants quickly embraced the availability of new technology that Hellofood provides, enabling them to incrementally grow their sales and customers with no upfront cost.
Hellofood Rwanda now delivers from more than 80 restaurants in Kigali and many more are coming on board every month. Being part of a global company, we also strive to build a team of competent customer service and delivery personnel that continue to deliver world class service to our customers.
Briefly describe your professional profile as an hotelier. How did you end up in the food business, and where else have you worked previously?
Interestingly, I have no background or formal training as an hotelier. I am an Electronic and Computer Engineer by training and have a deep passion for technology.
Previously, I launched several technology startups including a mobile money rent payment service, and running the Kenya office for the first taxi hailing app in Africa.
I ended up in the food business following my experience using technology to help business access new customers and market their services. Being a foodie also helped, making it an easy decision to move into the industry where all I thought about was delivering good food.
How would you sum up the online food delivery scene in Kigali?
I’ve seen the online food delivery scene in Kigali change significantly over the time I’ve been here. More so the number of restaurants offering delivery has steadily increased with various new cuisines coming into the market. New restaurants want to launch their food delivery business online immediately while also opening new stores.
Customers have also become well aware of the service and convenience of ordering food from the comfort of their home or office, either using our mobile app or website. The future of convenience has just began!
Why should I order food from Hellofood?
Hellofood offers the most convenient and widest choice of food delivery options in Kigali. The average Rwandan has become increasingly busy and very often wants quick and affordable options for lunch or dinner. With more than 80 restaurants offering delivery on Hellofood, one can quickly get their favourite meal delivered for Rwf1,000 only.
What are some of the key challenges you face in this business?
With time we’ve been able to overcome some initial key challenges such as customer awareness by investing in educating our customers on using technology for convenience. Many more people are switching to smartphones and tablets and are looking for applications with appropriate local content. Traditional businesses such as restaurants are also eager to grow their businesses and are looking for partners such as Hellofood.
Now that you are leaving Rwanda, what’s your next port of call, and what impressions will you carry from Rwanda with you?
I’m leaving Rwanda to go back home, where I’ve been tasked to lead Hellofood in Kenya. Living and working in Rwanda has been an eye opener on one of the best business environments in Africa. Consistently ranked as the most competitive economy in East Africa and one of the easiest to do business in Africa, Rwanda provides great opportunity and potential to entrepreneurs and global companies looking to set up in the continent.
Rwandans are also the most hospitable people; they’ve welcomed me with open arms and I will dearly miss the friends and colleagues I’ve made here. I look forward to visiting my favourite lakes often on holiday or business as Hellofood continues expansion in the country.