As part of my final presentation for the #EmoyeniDig festival 2021, yes I made it to the final end peeps, you can read all about this amazing digital storytelling workshop on this link https://paperbagafrica.co.zw/2021/04/06/emoyeni-digital-storytelling-2021/
I interviewed one of Zimbabwe’s thriving entrepreneurs Tatenda Jakarasi. He is the CEO and co-founder of MunchZimbabwe- an online based food, liquor, grocery service delivery application that provides its users with convenience – one can be able to order online on the application and get their order delivered right at their doorstep. To listen to the uncut version of the interview below you can listen on this link …
M.C: What inspired you to start this business?
T.J : What inspired me to start this business was the frustration of waiting in queues , the frustration of things taking long to get done, so I thought to myself why not have a platform where I can go and order something like food from a restaurant and it is delivered to me. Better yet order and not have to wait in the queue but just order and then collect my order like food when it is ready.. So this is how it started and we thought how can we develop something like that in order to help clients in the form of an application .
M.C: So who could you say this application is meant for? Someone who loves convenience ,someone who is on the go?
T.J : Yes , so this application is for people who love food and convenience. Now we are broadening our base , we are now incorporating liquor and grocery shopping so this will create more options for people who would like to order things and get them delivered at their doorstep!
M.C : What challenges have you faced, most businesses hit snag when the COVID pandemic hit. Can we say you experienced good or bad challenges ?
T.J : The first lockdown was amazing for us because we had so much business coming through but for the second lockdown due to the trading hours, our operations have not been running smooth. I think if essential services are allowed to operate beyond the trading hours we are currently working under, then that would be a plus for us . You will find that we have clients who would want to order dinner after 4 but are not able to do so due to the trading hours.
M.C : So how did you work around it?
T.J : We have just had to operate and do our best really, a lot of people do order at lunch time and some are ordering between 2pm and 3pm. We have made it work based on that and we have had an advantage where people have had to order through us because no sit-ins were not allowed in the restaurants at the moment. That factor helped us and we have continued marketing our brand and making people aware of us as a brand and what we stand for .
M.C : That is interesting I guess there is always that silver lining in every situation .How do you deal with criticism and negative remarks concerning the service delivery through your application from unsatisfied customers
T.J : Our business relies a lot on word of mouth and so for us the client is king. We take the feedback and weigh out if it is bad or good. We work hand in hand with the restaurants to let them know if something is amiss and if it is us in the wrong , we try make amends through free deliveries, compensating an order and we always liaise with the client to try our services again. For example if it is a late delivery we always try communicate with the client to let them know of any hiccups we would be facing.
M.C: You shared about deliveries so I believe you have your own bikers and delivery cars , so in terms of funding how did you go about it ?
T.J: We do not own cars or delivery cars but we talk to people who own them or who have the capacity so we get drivers. In terms of funding we got help initially from a couple of friends who invested, a friend’s dad too and now we are about to raise quite a bit that will help scale up our business !
M.C: Can you safely say that in the current Zimbabwe system, maybe funding is one of the things that is lacking when it comes to startups actually thriving?
T.J: In comparison to countries like Nigeria and Kenya, there is a lot of financial support and confidence in startups and ideas like they are confident in seeing the ideas grow unlike here in Zimbabwe. It is pretty hard in Zimbabwe, most people do not have the confidence to invest money for three to five years without expecting a return .
M.C: So what I am getting is that funding is needed for any startup to thrive! For any upcoming entrepreneur who wants to build a startup , what word of advice would you give them ?
T.J: You need to know your numbers and if you do not know , use search tools such Youtube, Google , find a mentor in that area who will help you, a mentor that have done it before. Do not be afraid to try things out, grind and get the work done. Network, your network will help you and will help your business to propel and have faith in yourself too. You will need to have confidence in yourself that it will work out and be open to learning along the way .
M.C: You have spoken like a true salesman .What are your future plans, what can we look forward to seeing from you and Munch ?
T.J: We will be expanding to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, we want to reach a larger market in Zimbabwe. In the near future we are looking at going regional
M.C: Expansion is the word! For those who would want to get hold of you and collaborate , where can they find you ?
T.J: They can reach out to me on the different social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter on the following handle @tatendajakarasi
M.C: Thank you for sharing, so to round up our interview I will ask you some less serious questions .Tea or Coffee ?
T.J: Tea !
M.C : Sneakers or Crocs?
T.J: Sneakers !
M.C: Working out or staying at home?
T.J: Working out !
M.C: Working out it is, thanks a lot do you have any last words for us ?
T.J: If you have a dream , just believe in it and put in the work. It will not come easy but dedicate yourself to seeing it be realised !
M.C: Dedication is the way to go right ! Thank you for wise words and if you would like to get hold of Tatenda Jakarasi you can reach out to him on the handle @tatendajakarasi on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook….