Meet the young lady who even with a degree in Airline passenger and travels decided to follow her passion of cooking and decided to start her catering company. She not only offers the normal hotel services but has also ventured in outside catering. She has worked in Vamos Bistro in Muthaiga as an assistant manager, Dowel Agencies limited as a manager and Radisson Blue in Jordan as a waitress and a supervisor. Agnes believes that there are so many business opportunities that have not been tapped.
“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures” Joseph Campbell.”
TheFounder magazine got a chance to interview the founder of Delish Company.
TheFounder magazine: When did Delish Company start?
Agnes: The Delish café started late last year; August 2015. Apart from Delish we also have other companies dealing with real estate and agriculture.
TheFounder Magazine: Who are the guys behind Delish and what was the inspiration behind the idea to start the company?
Agnes: The guys behind Delish are two; Agnes Kanini Ndwiga and Ruth Munyao. The idea of starting Delish café came about because am passionate about cooking and I love what I do. I have been in the hospitality industry for 10 years. When decided to start my own company, I approached my partner and she agreed to invest in the café.
TheFounder Magazine: Describe your typical day?
Agnes: I woke up at 5 am and by 5.30 am at the café. All the cooking and day to day business starts at 5.30 am. Every Monday I do my supplies, that’s when I also go for my supplies. My day ends at around 10.30pm to 11.00pm.
TheFounder Magazine: What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Agnes: The five key elements for starting running and growing a successful business are, having a business plan, capital, passion, dedicated staff and goals.
TheFounder Magazine: How do you generate ideas?
Agnes: I read a lot, that’s how I come up with different types of menus. I do a lot of research because in the hospitality industry you have to be creative in what you do, whether it is in the cooking of food or in the serving of food. All that has to be unique. It is because of this that I do a lot of research in the internet, go around other hotels seeing what they are doing and also borrow ideas from them.
TheFounder Magazine: Where did your company funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Agnes: While I was employed, I started saving because I always wanted to own my own business. I approached my partner and she accepted to bring in some cash so as to start the company. She brought in half of the money and I brought the other half. I never borrowed money from the bank. The initial capital was Ksh. 530,000. You can get capital from financial institutions, friends and family. The minimum capital you can start with is Ksh. 150,000.
TheFounder Magazine: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those working for someone else?
Agnes: The difference between entrepreneurs and the ones employed is the effort one puts in what he or she does. I usually put a lot of effort in what I do because the company is my own and I want it to grow more as compared to when I was employed because I had my job description on what I was supposed to do. As much as I have a job description in my company, I go an extra mile to make sure I achieve more.
TheFounder Magazine: Have you experienced any failures in your business and what have they meant to the company in terms of growth?
Agnes: Yes I have experienced some failures in my company. I have got some losses as any other business and with those losses, you get to learn where you are going wrong. In the hospitality industry there is food costing where you have to cost every single bit so that you know whether you are making money or not. People think that cooking is just cooking food and you serve. You have to cost for the gas, employees, rent, electricity used for just a plate that you will serve one person. If you go wrong in that, you will incur some losses. I had two months of losses so I went back to the drawing board and have now come back with a different strategy on how to do my food costing and what proportions to serve so as to prevent losses. You also need to cut down some costs. I had to lay down some employees so as to recover from my losses.
TheFounder Magazine: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Agnes: Marketing is a bit challenging. I have been marketing by word of mouth and lately I have ventured in social media. Marketing by word of mouth has worked but has not been so effective compared to social media. I have advertised via TheFounder magazine and has brought in some clients and it’s my hope that it will bring more customers in the future.
TheFounder Magazine: Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 10 years or so?
Agnes: My aspirations for the future are big. I want to own several outlets. I am planning to open an outlet mid or late this year. In ten years I hope to have a five star hotel, God willing. (Smiles)
TheFounder Magazine: Who has been your greatest inspiration and what motivates you each day?
Agnes: My greatest inspiration has been my mum. She has been there for me through thick and thin. She has been encouraged me whenever have been down. She is the one who pushed me to start Delish because she is in the same business. She saw the potential in me and decided to pass the fruits she has been reaping down onto me. She is still with me and helps me out with my day to day activities. Whenever I want to introduce a new dish, I usually experiment it at home, then takes it to my mother then to the public.
TheFounder Magazine: I am sure that you get compliments and complains, how do you react to them?
Agnes: I usually listen to the compliments and complains and take them to heart. This is because the feedback is what shape the company. I believe that the customer is always right so I do not argue but rectify the situation. In hospitality industry, a lot of patience is needed and one should always smile at the customer. Critics are healthy. The people who mostly critic what I do are my brother and fiance, this makes me run the company better.
TheFounder Magazine: What three pieces of advice would you give to young people who want to become entrepreneurs?
Agnes: When starting a business, know that there are risks. Starting a business is a risk you are taking, it is not a sure thing. You should go with a mindset that you are going to succeed, but with you fail, you should always have a plan B and C. As much as you are going with exceptions, control them because you will end up being disappointed if they you do not achieve what you want within the time frame you give yourself. There are three kind of people in business: One, the amateurs. They start their business then it fails, they start again then its fails, they are just there. Two, the pros. No matter how much the business fails, they always get up and find a solution. Three, the posers. The posers do not want to think outside the box. Things just remain as they are, they do not make any effort to improve.
My advice is have a mindset, set your goals and a financial adviser. A financial adviser is very important because finances are involved in any business you want to start. You have to do something that you love not want not what other people want because you will have passion for that.