Nairobi’s roast maize “Hustlers” report good business as restaurants count losses

Several restaurant owners told The Weekly Vision that the harsh economic time has badly affected the industry and some with loans could be forced to sell or just close down

By The Weekly Vision Online

Hard times are here and in Nairobi a new trend has quickly taken root, maize roast with young men pushing wheelbarrows around the CBD selling their goods hot and fresh.

The wheelbarrow maize roasters seem to be ‘implementing” DP Ruto’s economic blueprint of the “bottom-up” strategy that he says starts with helping low-income earners to expand their business.

And as maize sells like hot cake on the streets of Nairobi, mid-level restaurant owners are a disappointed lot as they stare at empty tables without customers. Some of the restaurants on Tom Mboya streets have stationed staff to keep “inviting pedestrians” to enter for “hot tea or meals” but the response is poor, they say.

Several restaurant owners told The Weekly Vision that the harsh economic time has badly affected the industry and some with loans could be forced to sell or just close down. They pointed at the emerging open-air eateries that many residents find affordable. They include roast and boiled maize, arrow roots, and sweet potatoes. They say some hard-pressed city residents cannot afford anything with a price tag above Kshs 20.

Another takeaway ‘hustle” includes hot coffee and “KDF” (thick mandazi) hawked around the CBD especially at busy bus stops like Ambassador, Kencom and Odeon cinema stages. The mobile coffee vendors made a kill during the prolonged cold spell in Nairobi.

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