KENYA – Online food delivery platform Bolt Food has released a survey that lists the top restaurant brands in Nairobi, as voted by customers in different categories.

The categories were ‘Loved by Locals’, ‘Hidden Gem’, ‘Rising Star’, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, ‘Treat Yourself Vegetarian’, ‘Best Value for Money’, ‘Early Bird’, ‘The King of KE Cuisine’, and ‘Lunchtime Fave’.

Java House was recognized as the leader in the Early Bird category, while Kilimanjaro emerged as the best under the King of KE Cuisine.

“The Food & Beverages, as well as the food delivery industry in general, have been through tough times in the last 3 years,” Bolt Food Country Manager Edgar Kitur said. “After being hit by the pandemic, restaurant owners are now challenged by high energy bills, the cost-of-living crisis, and rising inflation.”

The annual Restaurant Awards enable Bolt to recognize and appreciate their partner restaurants for committing to quality, the provision of outstanding services, and professionalism.

In this year’s entry, the food e-commerce platform allowed customers to vote for their favorite local restaurants. The first selection of eligible restaurants was based on popularity on the platform (measured by the number of orders and customer feedback offered in 2022). In the second phase, customers were allowed to vote for their favorite restaurants.

Data from the company’s end-of-year insights show that chicken was the most-bought item on the Bolt Food delivery platform with over 30,000 orders in the year that ended in December 2022.

Pizza came in second, followed by burgers and alcohol as the culture of consumer convenience picks up, the company said.

Estimates from research firm Statista show that restaurants and the platforms booked revenues of €172.7 million (Sh22.5 billion) from delivering food to customers last year.

The food delivery business exploded in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the closure and restriction of hotels and restaurant operations for months. Restaurant-to-consumer delivery has risen to dominancy, raking in €114.7 million (Sh14.9 billion).

The growth of meal delivery is being fueled by rapid urbanization and an increase in the population of the middle class that emphasizes convenience.

According to Statista, the number of users is expected to amount to 25.1 million users in the meal delivery segment by 2027, with a user penetration of 22.3 percent in 2023 and a projection of 40.1 percent hit by 2027.

Meal deliveries are helping restaurants and food chains to expand their sales beyond the sit-down dining model that is limited to capacity at the premises and customers willing to go there.

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