Tech & Innovation November 06, 2021 at 03:00 pm

How this Zimbabwean entrepreneur built a thriving food delivery app out of frustration

Abu Mubarik November 06, 2021 at 03:00 pm

November 06, 2021 at 03:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Munch CEO Tatenda Jakarasi. Photo: How We Made It In Africa

Tatenda Jakarasi is the founder of a food delivery app called Munch. The startup founder launched his app following queues in many restaurants in Zimbabwe, particularly on “Terrific Tuesday,” a weekly ‘buy one, get one free’ promotion introduced by a famous pizza brand to reward its loyal customers.

Jakarasi was exploring ways to reduce traffic time for customers at restaurants and also to make it feasible for people to sit in the comfort of their rooms, order food and get it delivered at home. He later settled on an app.

“It was out of frustration, needing better convenience, needing something that’s faster so that I can be doing a lot of things simultaneously, as opposed to just waiting for one thing for an hour and a half,” Jakarasi told Howwemadeitinafrica.

Jakarasi later started a conversation with a childhood friend online who resides in Canada. Jakarasi discussed with him his business idea. “There’s SkipTheDishes here, it’s very efficient. I think something like that would work in Zimbabwe,” his friend, Farai Chikumba, responded.

At the time, Chikumba was about to graduate from the university and when he eventually did, he reconnected with Jakarasi to develop the idea further. They had a major challenge, which was financing. However, they were fortunate enough to receive a $10,000 investment from a friend’s father. Jakarasi and his partner settled on Munch after pitching the name among their circle of friends.

Munch has a different business component, including delivery service, the restaurants, the drivers and the consumers.

“On the first app, you could just order, and food gets delivered. You could also order and choose a pickup, but there was no payment option … you couldn’t see pictures,” said Jakarasi of the early period of the business.

Once the app was running in 2017, Jakarasi and his team approached several restaurants to sign up delivery contracts. They started with three restaurants and later added other giant restaurants, including Simbisa brands — Pizza Inn, Chicken Inn, and others.

“So we got the biggest one, Antonio’s … that became a ripple effect because now you keep on going to each restaurant and say ‘we just signed on Antonios’ and people would say, ‘wait, if Antonios is on, we need to step up’, and that’s how people jumped on. At some point, we had 50 restaurants,” said the 29-year-old entrepreneur of the exciting early days of the new start-up.

The next phase of the business was to recruit delivery drivers and bikers. Jakarasi and his team initially encountered challenges recruiting drivers but dealt with those challenges by relying on youngsters and fresh graduates. They also invested in bikers with the help of some friends, to assist with food deliveries.

According to Jakarasi, the lockdown measures instituted in Zimbabwe to contain the spread of the virus propelled his startup to greater heights. He noted that most restaurants could not open to customers and Munch stepped in to fill the gap – and surpassed all expectations.

He told Howwemadeitinafrica that Munch now has 20 drivers on duty at any given time and 15 drivers on shift on a busy day.

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