Meet Former Hawker Who Owns Ksh30M City Restaurant

In life, what sets successful people apart from the fold is their story of resilience in achieving their targets and The Branch Restaurant owner Joab Okeya fits the frame perfectly.

In a sit-down with Business Daily in 2018, the multi-millionaire recounted how he achieved success from his initial hawking job to running own restaurant valued at Ksh30 million.

It all started in the market of Muthurwa where he hawked cowpeas leaves (Kunde) for a living. He did the work diligently and soon after and secured a Waiter's job in one of the city restaurants.

His pivotal point was, however, when he landed a Chef job at Ranalo Foods in Nairobi where he spent nine years raking in an income and seemingly studying Nairobians' eating habits for his own venture.

Ranalo is an uptown venture that capitalises on traditional dishes and is beloved by many Nairobi dwellers including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

His restaurant's menu is stocked with traditional foods including Athola (roasted beef stew), fish, chicken, ugali among others.

“We do not put artificial additives in our dishes, which has helped to grow the popularity of The Branch,” he stated.

In the months leading to September 2017, the possibility of Okeya running his own restaurant was apparent when he started looking for ways to set his foundation.

He got into a partnership with a colleague where they raised Ksh30 million to set up the joint located along Moi Avenue.

"As other restaurants closed doors because of the street demos, we kept ours open in order to capture the clientele who at the time was looking for well-prepared African dishes,” he explained about his decision to set up a restaurant in the thick of 2017 political turmoil.

The two, who own the restaurant 50-50, met when Okeya was contemplating his exit Ranalo. He was approached by his partner.

His love for the kitchen was, however, born in his childhood as he narrated that he would perform cooking duties for his family of 11.

At some point, he topped the Home Science class in his school and his career path became clear from then on.

The restaurant receives 500 guests averagely with a menu going for exotic dishes like Ksh200 coffee and Ksh500 tilapia.

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