Category: Hotels & Restaurants

5 simple ways a farmers market helps accomplish business growth

Borneo Restaurant as a case study

When I started the market, it was born out of a need to help local farmers and producers I had come across, that had been having a hard time getting their product to market and/or maximizing their reach to the community. Several were being squeezed by middle men and almost all had been failed by them in regards to ensuring that all their produce was sold off at a healthy price margin.

You see, when you have no idea how to get your product to market, it’s very easy to be exploited by those who do. They smell the urgency and desperation from you to sell off your products as quickly as possible and this makes you an easy target.

So how as a business owner can you empower yourself to ensure that you don’t have products rotting or gathering dust?

There are very many ways to let consumers know what you are producing (this shall be a story for another blog) but today, I shall tackle using your local farmers market as a tool for growing your business.

Borneo Restaurant is an Indonesian restaurant that was started around 19 months ago by a couple Fetty Fatimah and Sanjeev Kumar. I was introduced to them by another vendor, Delicious Tofu, ran by a young man who was building his business, while going to University full time.

Borneo- Kinamba

At the time, they had been in operation for around 6 months and were struggling to get consumers through their doors. They were in an area of town called Kinamba, that is mainly filled with small hotels and numerous other businesses that were not really in line with what they were trying to build.

Now, if you live in Kigali, you know every other week there is a new restaurant coming up at every corner. The competition for the same demographic of people is fierce so you have to stand out in order to make that coin. As I write this blog, Borneo has since moved to the upper scale neighbourhood of Kimihurura and they can’t seem to keep the consumers off and they are definitely smiling at their growth from humble beginnings.  Every lunch time, there are droves of people coming to sample their authentic Indonesian meals. I was able to have a conversation with Fetty, to understand how they got there, how the market contributed to their success but most importantly, what they can say to encourage other small businesses in the same road of growth they are in.

  1. Farmers markets are great for introducing new brands or new lines of products

As the market is at the grass root level, you get first hand feedback and ideas from consumers. As the producer, you are able to explain what your brand stands for, what your products are, what goes into making your products and any other information that might be useful in creating that awareness about your business. Borneo quickly learnt from their first market experience that there was a great need for healthy vegetarian options that are quick to make and by the 2nd time to the market, they brought exactly that, even taking it to the next level by preparing the foods on site for consumers to see. Every month for the year they were with us, they kept tweaking their menu, retaining those meals that were popular and introducing new ones till they were able to get the perfect balance.

Borneo at the market
  1. Building brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is created when consumers trust your brand to give them what you say will give them in a consistent and professional manner.

Borneo, first listened to the customers’ needs then, they proceeded to give the consumer what they wanted with efficiency. Every market day they attended found their stand very busy with consumers waiting to taste their favourite snacks. 

Borneo at the market
  1. Driving traffic to your physical and/or online store

Our market runs once per month so it’s vital for vendors to let the consumers know how they can be reached outside market days.

As mentioned earlier, Borneo had a very small restaurant in an area that wasn’t truly matching their vision. They however still made it work by sharing with consumers their business cards and phone numbers on market day and letting them know that they can be reached on other days.

  1. Getting ideas thought out of the box

We are wired to think and act in certain ways as human beings and sometimes, we need a certain jolt or eye opener to rewire or brains. Markets are great to get you looking at your business in a different light and coming up with new ideas to put you ahead of your competitors.

Borneo used this effectively by introducing vegetarian options in the market. Though they were already selling them at their restaurant, that’s what they became known for in our platform and they rode with that and still do.

Borneo salads
  1. Help your business find its niche

At the market, we strive to adhere to a no replication rule. This essentially means that we don’t allow duplication of products. Granted, this does narrow our pool of potential vendors, but it is important to do this to help vendors maximize their sales on market day and also give a fair chance for a vendor to critically assess what works for them or doesn’t. As these businesses already face competition in their every day running of operations, it made sense to us for them to have a place where they can stand out on their own and shine for what they do.

Tied to the previous point, Borneo learnt that not only could they make vegetarian snacks that are hits but, they could take it a step further by focusing on what they knew best..Indonesian cuisine. Many market visitors, including myself, had never tried this kind of cuisine before and I must tell you, the look on the face of consumers when they took their first bite was, and still is, a site to behold. Since I love food, I always get an internal smile when I see this look. It means the vendor has not only done their job but, they’ve done it well and gained a follower – which is why the market was started. 

Borneo’s new location in Kimihurura

Borneo no longer come to the market and we miss them terribly but, I’m comforted by the fact they are busy every weekend doing either outside catering or other gigs as they continue on their journey. Fetty definitely feels that their move to join the market played an instrumental role in growing their name and presence. Perseverance, hard work and having an open mind are other factors that she felt one needs to have to grow their business and I definitely agree.

Borneo restaurant is located on KG 4 Ave 18 Kimihurura. Their lunch buffet is from 1200-1500 hrs and they are open daily from 1000-2200 hrs. Here is the kind of food you can expect from their lunch buffet menu: Pilau rice, Cap cay, Fried Chicken wings, Noodles omelettes, Beef curry, Bakwan, Fried flour Tofu, Mixed vegetables with tofu, Vegetables fried noodles, Vegetables soup, Salad, Sambal, Fruits, Peanut sauce all for just Rwf 4000 and comes with  free doughnut.

KFAAM and other farmers markets play an important role in the community of giving a platform for businesses to grow and move on to bigger and better things, making room for the next business that needs this support. That in mind, as we approach the #womensday market in March which will be held at Kigali Serena Hotel from 1200-1800 hrs, we are pushing this agenda further by running a Facebook giveaway from 13th to 20th Feb where we are giving women-led businesses an opportunity to win free space and services at the market for up to 3 months.

You could be the next business ready to tell a story of how a farmers’ market helped you grow your business.

Follow this link for details on how to enter >kigalifarmersandartisansmarket.com/giveaways

#womensdaymarket

Facebook> @borneocoffeeresto

Instagram> @borneokigali

Contacts> +250 785 775 703 | borneo.limited@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are of the author and it’s imperative that one does their own extensive research before employing any business strategy

Founder KFAAM

Flo Mwashimba is the founder of KFAAM and is strongly passionate about supporting SMEs, micro and home industries run by women, youth and PLWD in the community

 

6 great reasons why Kigali Serena Hotel is the perfect host for your next event

Serena Hotels have established themselves as one of the world’s leading hospitality brands offering quality accommodation, unique holiday and conference solutions, cultural heritage and adventure tourism. Its collection of 35 unique hotels, resorts, safari lodges and camps, palaces and forts located in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda and Uganda), Mozambique and South Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan) are in some of the world’s most interesting, enchanting, historic and exotic settings.

Kigali Serena Hotel Presidential suite

The hotel has 148 sophisticated rooms that includes an impressive 300 square metres presidential suite with a king size bed, Jacuzzi and space for meetings and entertaining. Check out their accommodation here

Kigali Farmers’ And Artisans’ Market – KFAAM, has had the privilege of working with Kigali Serena Hotel by having its markets at their venue for the past few months. Both the market and the hotel share numerous goals and visions when it comes to supporting, building and working with local businesses in Rwanda.

So what makes Kigali Serena Hotel the ideal place to host your events?

Having first hand experience of being hosted at the Kigali Serena, here are the reasons (in no particular order) why the hotel is the perfect and ideal spot for all your event needs in Kigali.

1.Privacy

Auditorium

The conference areas are located on separate, quiet floors. This means you are able to comfortably host your guests without interruption from other events/ guests within the hotel. The market is usually held at the auditorium and, we are able to have music playing in the background, kids running around and the general hustle and bustle of a market without any worry that we are bothering other guests or the surrounding businesses and homes in the area

2. Ready-to-Use Equipment

In addition to tables and chairs, they have conference phones, Wi-Fi accessibility, writing charts and protector screens. This means you don’t have to stress over extra costs of set-up and transportation of equipment and focus more on layout and event preparation. This is a huge plus for the market and definitely cuts on costs and ensures better time management which is a big thing for any event manager

3. Fresh Food and Beverage Option

They offer banquet services with customizable menus. Their food is fresh and most of it is made using ingredients from local farmers. They have customized a menu for the market which is a great value add for the consumers that visit us each month.

Buffet at the hotel

Having been a fresh farm produce distributor in Kigali (before starting the market), Kigali Serena was one of my clients. I can attest to the fact that the delivery of fresh food was done every day and it was always amazing to see the number of local farmers and producers lined up waiting to have their produce vetted and received. There are standards of hygiene to be up held and corners are not cut thanks to the astute eye of Executive Chef Fred Nakweya and his team.

4. Experienced Staff

Your meeting or event will not be Kigali Serena hotel’s first event (and hopefully won’t be its last!). You can tell that the staff is trained to quickly resolve issues like food concerns, technical difficulties, etc. The GM, who serves as the Country manager as well, Dan Sambai, is extremely helpful, has an eye for detail, quick to respond to queries and generally made the organisation of each market easier with each passing month. The deputy James Nzavawala, is just as good and talented in his work and together with their entire staff, you’ll have fewer grey hairs managing and coordinating your event at this hotel.

5. Easy Access

The hotel lobby

Kigali Serena Hotel has done a great job of trying to accommodate every guests’ needs when it comes to accessibility of its facilities. To access the auditorium, there’s a ramp for PLWD, plenty of parking – which is a walking distance from the auditorium, clean and well stocked wash rooms and a green lash garden to enjoy your snacks and drinks as you catch up with your friends. Kids are also able to run around freely without the worry that there’s danger lurking around the corner

6. Powerful Networking

What makes Kigali Serena Hotel stand out in my eyes, is how vested they are in networking. Each market has had visits from several department heads from the hotel. They listen and learn about what the vendors are selling and even go above and beyond by introducing vendors to their relevant colleagues in the hotel to create and cultivate relationships that go beyond market day. We had the great pleasure of showing the country sales and marketing manager, Evelyne Karamangi-Kamau, around in the last market and, she had fantastic ideas on how the market could further impact the community. She went ahead and supported some of the local businesses by purchasing products/produce to try out and had very encouraging words for every vendor she met. If this doesn’t show responsible attitude and sensitivity towards supporting local businesses, I don’t know what does.

Next time you are looking for a 5 star venue with a central location coupled with experienced staff and world class facilities, Kigali Serena hotel should definitely be top of mind.

Having learnt and known that Kigali Serena Hotels’ procurement strategy thrives through local sourcing, it was a no brainer to partner with them as at all costs, they encourage and promote local community based suppliers and eco-friendly products that support small scale producers and dis-advantaged groups.

19th KFAAM Women’s day Edition

Our next market shall be on 2nd March at the auditorium from 1200-1800hrs. Click here if you are interested in joining us as a vendor.

To learn more about Kigali Serena hotel and their facilities, click here

You can also directly contact the following staff members on email with the subject head ‘Kigali Farmers’ And Artisans’ Market referral-Request for customized event’ to get your customized event package with possible discounts

GM/Country Manager: Dan Sambai – dsambai@serena.co.rw

Deputy GM :James Nzavwala – jnzavwala@serena.co.rw

Executive Chef: Fred Nakweya – fnakweya@serena.co.rw

Country Sales and Marketing Manager: Evelyne Karamangi-Kamau -ekaramangi@serena.co.rw

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are of the author and it’s imperative that one does their own extensive research before booking any site for an event.

Flo Mwashimba is the founder of KFAAM and is strongly passionate about supporting SMEs, micro and home industries run by women, youth and PLWD in the community

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Kigali, Rwanda
Kigali Farmers´ And Artisans´ Market
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