Meet Joshua Onialo, founder of Nutrition Palace, a restaurant located near Olympic Stage in Kibera. Joshua, who grew up in Kibera, noticed a lack of healthy and affordable food in his community. He explains that recent studies conducted in the area revealed that most local restaurants “were not providing food with adequate nutrients” and often failed to follow hygiene standards. In an attempt to solve this issue, he opened Nutrition Palace with the goal of providing healthy, hygienic food at “very affordable prices.” He notes that often Kibera residents do not feel comfortable in many Nairobi restaurants due to their high prices. With Nutrition Palace, Joshua works to make “everyone feel welcome,” regardless of income.
Nutrition Palace opened its doors in September of 2016. Today, the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves hundreds of meals every day. In March, Joshua sold an impressive average of 220 meals per day. Recently, he received a contract with Daystar, a private university in Nairobi, for their annual student party. He is currently interviewing for a contract with the Nairobi County Government where he would provide regular employee meals.
Despite his success, Joshua faces a number of challenges with his startup. “The largest issue,” he explains, “is the fluctuations of food prices in the market.” When prices for food rise, Nutrition Palace must charge higher prices in order to still make a profit. But because the restaurant is relatively new, it is still building trust among its customer base. Therefore, even a small rise in prices can result in many lost customers who feel they are being charged too much. Joshua is working to do outreach in the community about healthy eating to mediate these types of issues when they occur.
Joshua underwent training with Somo in 2014 and received a grant in August of 2016. His experience with Somo “has made a great impact on the way I run my business.” He uses the skills he learned during Somo’s training program, from drafting budgets to creating a business plan, constantly at Nutrition Palace. Without this business knowledge, Joshua does not think he would have been able to run a successful startup. “The skills I gathered at Somo,” he explains, “keep Nutrition Palace focused on meeting our targets and mission of providing nutritious and affordable food.”
Find them on Facebook or stop by Nutrition Palace today at Olympic Stage, open from 5:30 am to 8 pm daily.