Nigerian Startup Vendease is building Amazon Prime for African Restaurants

Running a restaurant is a lucrative business in Nigeria and most of Africa. The challenge most of these businesses have is accessing food items at an affordable rate from market sellers compared to if they buy directly from the farmers.

To solve this problem, Nigerian startup Vendease has created a platform where restaurants can purchase food items directly from farms and manufacturers without a middle man.

Vendease was founded by Tunde Kara, Olumide Fayankin, Gatumi Aliyu, and Wale Oyepeju. The motivation to start the company came after these four friends noticed that some of their favorite restaurants in Lagos, Nigeria and Accra, Ghana were shutting down due to the expensive nature of food procurement in those cities, TechCrunch reported.

After encountering a few other restaurants and hotel managers who complained about the unreliability of vendors, as well as unsteady and expensive supply of produce, the idea for Vendease came alive.

“We thought to ourselves that if restaurant owners and hotel managers have these problems, let us actually do some research and find out if it is a problem we can solve at scale and make money while doing it,” Kara told TechCrunch.

Vendease founders discovered from their research that the common process of a restaurant staff going to the market to purchase foodstuff or using third-party vendors wasn’t effective enough. An online marketplace like Vendease will enable restaurant owners in Africa to easily and access all the food items they need directly from the farmers and have them delivered to them.

Before now, Vendease CEO Kara and COO Fayankin were top staff at a Pan-African media consulting company, RED Media. The company’s chief product officer (CPO) Aliyu held a similar position at a Lagos and San Francisco-based startup, 54gene. While Oyepeju, the company’s CTO worked on a couple of technology projects for several corporates.

The co-founders had previously founded an adtech startup for cab-hailing companies, before founding Vendease. Although the adtech startup didn’t last long due to certain challenges, the group is determined to embark on another entrepreneurial journey.

Vendease was officially founded in January 2020, and has since raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed round to launch operations. The company is a procurement platform that provides restaurants and hotels the best quality products at an affordable price, according to its website.

“Why we call ourselves that is because we are deliberate about fulfilling our orders to restaurants and hotels in less than 24 hours. As most of us know, this is similar to how Amazon Prime prioritizes delivery,” Kara said.

Customers can order from anything including grains, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, etc., as listed on the website. Once an order has been confirmed, a notification is sent directly to farms or food manufacturers, and delivery is made within 24 hours.

On one hand, Vendease aims to help restaurants gain direct access to the food market at an affordable rate. On the other hand, it also looks out for farmers and vendors involved in the supply chain, linking them with partners in the restaurant industry.

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