Informal food vendors in Nairobi have increased their presence around the business districts and low income neighborhoods. They serve an increasing demographic of urban workers and students who might otherwise not afford regular meals offered in the formal food spaces. These eateries however have challenges in space allocation, ambience and clean cooking technologies as they operate on road reserves or squatte on undeveloped land making structural development not a priority.

They serve fresh local meals while playing a key role in eliminating food waste since they get their supply from nearby food markets ready to be consumed product that might not pass the wait or entry standard to shelf life.


Connecting markets with informal food vendors


Nairobi City Dwellers

What We Did

Ethnographical study, co-creation sessions, concept development


We took a deep dive in the informal sector for more than ten years.

Business Model Design

We looked at product-service systems and the potential for having such systems in our context.


We saw different forms of ownership for this informal food set-ups. Through testing we learned ownership is key.


To explore place-making interventions instead of the conventional restaurant models.

The Results

“By far the best team I’ve ever worked with. They truly understood the look I was going for and completely nailed it!”

Imagine working in an office complex where the price of food per month is more than half your salary.

Kula banda offers access to trusted fair priced food from a select pool informal food vendors across different locations in Nairobi by employing a mix of policy and technology interventions.

We deliver by bicycle saving time and energy while offering employment by tapping into the pool of young people available in the city as our couriers.

Working together with city authorities and stakeholder across the food sector to ensure food safety offering security for both the informal vendor and consumer.

We enable traceability and formalisation of the informal food vendor’s through capacity building via culinary skill classes, business development modules and linkages to clean technology from our ecosytem partnerships.


Percent increase in overall business


Businesses studied


Researchers worked on this project