Taxi hailing Bolt ventures into food delivery business as alternative revenue streams

KENYA – Bolt, a taxi hailing service, is venturing into the food delivery business in Kenya targeting alternative revenue streams as the market has seen reduced mobility in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions.

Bolt advertised the position of Country Manager for its food delivery arm in Kenya signalling the beginning of operations towards the end of the year according to Business Daily.

“We’re already present in 30+ markets across Europe and Africa. Now, it’s time for us to bring the know-how around building a mobility platform to the food delivery industry,” read a notice by the firm.

The food delivery segment has in 2020 become the fastest growing line for Bolt’s competitor Uber with its latest financials (Q2) showing that delivery more than doubled while rides declined considerably.

Bolt is yet to unveil charges of the services, but other players charge between KSh50 (US$0.46) and KSh200 (US$1.85) pegged on distance. Jumia Food also offers a subscription option where users pay a monthly rate for unlimited deliveries.

Bolt is leveraging on its existing network and customer base to break into the segment in Kenya. Bolt Food was first introduced by the firm in its native Estonia with the planned expansion into other markets in Africa and Europe.

The firm indicated that it was responding to demand from customers to venture into food delivery.

Since March, Kenya has faced a series of restrictions that have hit the transport and restaurant industry hard. Restricted movement and closure of some offices reduced the number of people commuting.

For restaurants, they were initially only permitted to operate on a take-away basis before sit-in customers were later allowed with social distancing measures and restricted hours of operation.

The measures reduced by half or more in most instances, the number of customers that could eat in a restaurant at any given point.

This has meant that the food industry has become more reliant on the online apps to deliver food to the consumer at their doorstep.

Popular eateries have set up e-commerce sites linked to existing delivery services such as Jumia Food, Uber Eats, Glovo and Yum as well as in house channels to meet needs of the consumer.

According to a research by Allied Market Share, global E-commerce logistic market is expected to reach US$535.8m by 2022 supported by a CARG of 21.2%.

Looking at the world food delivery segment in particular, revenue is expected to hit US$18.9 billion in 2020, showing an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020-2024) of 8.2%, resulting in a market volume of US$25.95 billion by 2024, highlights Statista.

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