Ride-hailing company, Bolt has officially launched its food delivery service, Bolt Food, in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi. The launch comes at a time when the country has been forced into partial lockdown amid a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenya becomes the third African country where Bolt Food is currently available, after South Africa and Ghana.
Food delivery has been a popular request for quite some time and we are glad to bring this service to the millions of people who are using our platform. The infrastructure and experience we have built up with our ride-hailing business give us a good platform to expand and diversify our services.Edgar Kipngetich Kitur, Bolt Food Country Manager, Kenya
Recall that Bolt’s plans to enter the Kenya market had become apparent in 2020 after the e-hailing company advertised the position of Country Manager for its food delivery arm in Kenya.
Bolt has ventured into Kenya’s food delivery space where Jumia Food and Uber Eats are two major players. Jumia Food is available in five (5) cities including Nairobi but Uber Eats only operates in Nairobi and Mombasa.
While Bolt Food is strategically positioned to provide users with access to diverse restaurants during the lockdown, it is coming up against the likes of Jumia Food and Uber Eats in the tussle for dominance in Kenya’s online food delivery market.
We examine how Bolt Food measures up against its competitors and whether the service could thrive in Kenya.
Is Bolt Food Offering Enough Variety?
When it comes to online food delivery, variety is a major pulling factor for several customers. People want to be able to try out a plethora of foods.
Kenya’s online food and beverage market is estimated at $16.4 million and projected to reach $34.6 million by 2024.
Bolt Food has started out by onboarding 200 restaurants in Kenya including KFC, Big Square, Pizza Mojo, Urban Gourmet Burger, Debonairs Pizza, etc. It also has plans to add new restaurants to the app daily.
This is quite impressive when one considers the fact that Uber Eats took a whole year to add 420 eateries to its platform in Kenya. However, Jumia Food leads the way with up to 1,000 restaurants across five cities.
Invariably, Jumia Food users enjoy the most variety on foods that can be ordered online. But Bolt Food has only just launched, and it seems a matter of time before the service clocks up Jumia-like number of restaurants.
Of Delivery Fees and Affordability
Going by the current rates in Kenya, Uber Eats and Jumia Foods are priced equally but with varying delivery fees. A KFC single piece chicken with regular chips costs Ksh320 via Jumia Food, exactly the same amount for Uber Eats.
Bolt Food prices are about the same as its competitors but with zero delivery fees for now. Jumia Food charges a fixed delivery fee per order but Uber Eats fees differ according to the location of order recipients.
With Bolt Food currently offering free deliveries, many people who want to save delivery costs will jump at the opportunity to process food orders without paying for dispatch fees. This could give Bolt Food a competitive edge in the short term by attracting more users to its platform.
In terms of delivery speed, Uber Eats claims a delivery time of at most 30 minutes for foods ordered via its platform. On the other hand, Jumia Food reportedly delivers within 35 minutes. Although there are really no figures for Bolt Food, the service has to better the delivery time of its competitors to impress and retain customers.
Whichever way the online food rivalry in Kenya plays out, Bolt Food’s launch means that people are further spoilt for choice when it comes to food delivery apps to explore in the country.
If you’d like to get featured on our Entrepreneur Spotlight, click here to share your startup story with us.
Get latest Technology news, reviews, business-related content with a deliberate emphasis on the African narrative and insightful analysis in Nigeria – straight to your inbox.