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Lunch at your desk

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Lunch at your desk! That seems to be the new line of business in Harare, as caterers have taken their business to the doorsteps of offices and organisations across the city.

For many leaving the office for lunch had become a cumbersome process, battling with queues every work day at food outlets, this coupled with traffic jams that have become permanent on Harares roads.

But for the enterprising caterers, what better business idea than delivering lunch to the busy office workers and those too tired to walk out for the afternoon break?

Rudo Rinda (not her real name), who operates a house canteen in the central business district flats said food deliveries were flourishing.

She said the major reason why her business was succeeding was a result of cheaper prices she charges compared to most restaurants in the city.

I have been operating a house canteen since 2009, said Rinda. My business is growing every day.
She said sales had steadily increased from about 30 to 40 plates daily to more than 60 plates since the beginning of February.

Rinda said she made 50 cents profit for every plate sold.

She said the major hindrances to her line of business were council officials, who have been refusing to issue her with an operating licence until she moves away from the house.

We are failing to acquire licences. I am operating my business in a house and council argues there is not enough space for them to licence me.

The self-made caterer added she had ventured into business as a means to generate decent income and is encouraged by the growth in her business.

We hope the government can assist us. We have been at different places looking for capital, but nothing materialised, said Rinda.

Last year Rinda joined a woman initiative that was giving loans in partnership with a local, but after paying the required $25 deposit nothing materialised.
If only we can be assisted with funding my business can grow and operate legally. Cooking takes more than just mixing ingredients.

Another house canteen owner, Luke Ufumeli, said failure to access funding to open a formal restaurant in town had forced him to operate from his house.

With no apparent employment opportunities being created in the formal sector, one could not just fold their arms and wait, said Ufumeli. I had to create a source of income. Hopefully in the next five years l would have opened my own restaurant.

Funds permitting, Ufumeli said he hoped to expand the business.

He added there was scope for growth, given people required food all the time.

The challenge at the moment is transport. Each day I carry 20 plates of sadza using public transport to deliver at different organisations, said Ufumeli.

At some workplaces, Ufumeli has managed to secured agreements to supply staff with lunch on a daily basis.

People should not fear to take risks in life. You never know what the future holds, he said.

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