Study reveals popular food in Kenyan restaurants

A Nairobi-based company tracked the behaviour of people who used a popular hotel-seeking website for the whole of last year and the findings are providing food for thought for eatery owners in Nairobi.

In the data collected from more than 450 restaurants, it emerges that not many Kenyans buy African dishes when they go out to eat. Many prefer to try continental foods which include Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean dishes, sea food and barbeque.

Continental food got a popularity score of 7.02 countrywide, with fast food coming second with a score of 5.71. The figures were gathered and analysed by Data Fintech, which collects consumer data, processes it and sells it to various individuals. The website that generated the figures was EatOut, which offers users a platform to pick a restaurant and the food they would like to eat.

The establishments listed on EatOut include those in Nairobi’s Westlands, Lavington, Lang’ata Road, Mombasa Road and the Central Business District among hundreds of others.

Data Fintech gathered the information from seven Kenyan urban areas between January and December 2016, converting the behaviour of over 5,400 users into analysable data.

Mr Draman Traore, a co-founder of Data Fintech, told the Nation that they calculated the popularity of dishes based on the reviews posted by users.

“The popularity is based on what the visitors are doing on the marketplace. The highest popularity is based on the highest reviews,” he said.


The meals being offered in the restaurants analysed were put in six categories: international, African, continental, fast food, bar cuisine, and dessert.

International food comprises of, among others, Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, Persian and Korean dishes, and tapas and sushi.

African food encompasses Swahili, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Somali, Nigerian dishes, koroga among others while fast food has pizzas, burgers, subs, sandwiches among others.

In Nairobi, the firm narrowed down its study to the dishes that drew interest in various parts of the city, observing what food EatOut visitors selected and reviewed in Westlands, the central business district, Gigiri, Karen and Lavington.

Among eateries based in Westlands, continental cuisine was the most popular throughout 2016. However, fast food sold well especially in the second half of the year.

It was the same case in the CBD as continental food took the lead followed by fast food then international dishes. African food received very little attention among CBD buyers.

In Gigiri, however, African food was the best-selling, followed by international then fast food. African food also carried the day in Karen.

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