Thursday, February 29, 2024

Obado Obadoh: From working as Chef to starting popular Café Deli Restaurant

I’m with Sarah Parish in the saying that ‘’ if you don’t go out on the branch, you are never going to get the best fruit’. Obado Obadoh worked as a chef for more than fourteen years before founding the most popular restaurants in Nairobi – Café Deli and Cakes.

Immediately after his studies at Norfolk, Obadoh started working as an apprentice chef at the Hotel. He later moved to other Five star hotels, including Safari Park, Block Hotels (now Nyali Beach), and Sarova Hotels, where he worked as a chef.

While at Sarova, Obadoh made a friendship with a lady; little did he know the lady would become his business partner years later. In 2004, Obadoh quit employment to start his own business.

Together with his friend and her boyfriend, they started a pastry shop in Westlands which crumbled two years later due to disagreements.

‘’The distribution of profits led to a serious disagreement. While she wanted her share of the profit to go back into repaying the loan she had taken for her contribution to the business, the rest of us were ploughing back our profits into the business,’’ Said Obadoh in an interview with The Standard.

Obadoh decided to foot on his own and acquired all his shares which amounted to Sh 700,000. For three years, he would bake and supply his products to many restaurants in Nairobi’s CBD.

One of the big buyers of his products was Coffee World which was along Moi Avenue. In 2020, the restaurant informed Obadoh that it would be exiting the market, citing poor business.

In those few years he interacted with Coffee World, Obadoh had identified a gap that needed to be filled. As such, he made a bid to acquire the Hotel to solve the problem they had failed to identify, leading to their fallout.

‘’They had made it a vegetarian restaurant. In the middle of the city, people need meat. The place was also overstaffed. I saw a business opportunity too,’’

Read: Former teacher making millions from onions, vegetables, and livestock farming

The selling price for the Hotel was sh 18 million and later reduced to Sh 14 million, but Obadoh had only sh 40,000 in his bank account. He was, however, so determined to acquire the restaurant.

He went ahead to look for financiers thanks to his friend, who linked him to GroFin –a growth finance company –which agreed to finance him. He later repaid them within four years against the set six-years period.

‘’They said that they believed in me because I believed in my idea. I had a clear goal of what I wanted. I was resilient, and my journey convinced them that, given the resources, I would gun for everything within the reach’’

Café Deli started operations in 2007. The restaurant has grown over the years, establishing three branches in Nairobi CBD. According to its website, it serves over 200 customers daily and sells over 1000 cakes daily.

Read: From Mama Fua to running own Gikomba mitumba business

Obadoh’s Take on Employment

While employment serves as an entry point for many successful entrepreneurs, Obadoh believes innovative minds should quit the comfort of employment and follow their dreams.

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