Kenya: Hotels and restaurants struggle to stay afloat as food prices soar

Kisii — In recent weeks, Kenyans have struggled to cope with weather-induced rising food prices and rising input costs that have been compounded by the war in Ukraine.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the food price inflation rate rose to 12.4% in May 2022 from 7% in May 2021.

This rise in food prices has largely affected hoteliers in Kisii County, with most of them struggling to retain their staff and customers and to profit from the business.

Speaking to KNA in Kisii town, Dayprin hotel manager Mercy Moraa said the high cost of food had largely affected her business.

Moraa noted that she was forced to ration some of the meals on the menu without changing their prices in order to maintain their customers.

She pointed out that they have reduced the portions of foodstuffs they buy daily in order to maintain their profit and daily production.

In addition, the hotel manager said he reduced the number of workers at the establishment from eleven to six in order to keep the business afloat.

Moraa noted that the number of customers has also decreased since only a few people can afford meals in hotels while others choose to take packed lunches from home.

“We have informed our customers of the expected change in meal prices to prepare them to adapt to the gradual change rather than a sudden change,” she added.

Moraa pointed out that there has been a shortage of foodstuffs in some supermarkets, with establishments limiting the number of specific items once can buy.

The manager noted that the amount of food waste has also decreased due to a reduction in the amount of food they cook to reduce losses.

Similarly, Mwenge hotel manager Lameck Oiro said his business is suffering from the current inflation as fewer customers visit the place.

Instead of reducing the number of workers at his hotel, Oiro said he opted to have them work day shifts to cope with low guest attendance due to rising food prices.

“I have been forced to reduce our spending on daily food purchases to minimize waste. I urge the government to review food prices to ensure that every resident can afford to eat” , did he declare.

Stageview restaurant manager Wycliffe Atandi said he had to lay off 10% of his staff due to recent inflation in the country.

He said he was forced to adjust the prices of some meals to maintain the hotel’s profit margin.

The hotel manager stressed that guest satisfaction was a top priority and as such he chose not to reduce the amount of food served.

“My appeal to the national government is that they should reduce the cost of living for common mwananchi because living has become very expensive,” Atandi said.

As food prices rise, hotels and restaurants are now forced to print new menus and alert guests to new changes before offering services.

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