A day in the life of a Kampala food deliveryman

With the business of food delivery growing by leaps and bounds in Uganda, several companies including Jumia, Glovo and Café Javas among others have been making out of a financial kill out of the same.

One of the people who realized an opportunity to make a kill is 23-year-old Jackson Ngobi who works at one of the restaurants in the central business district of Kampala.

“Last year, I realized doing food delivery business was something out of which I could earn extra money, away from what I always earned,” Ngobi says.

He explains that having completed his Uganda Certificate of Education exams in 2022 in Iganga, his parents couldn’t afford to pay for his school fees to enable him continue with his education.

“Since I had a relative in Kampala, I decided to leave the village to come to the city to make ends meet.”

The 23-year-old says at his relative’s home in Kibuli, a Kampala suburb, he was given opportunity to work at the restaurant that the aunt owns along Buganda Road.

Here, his role involved delivering food to customers inside the restaurant and would be paid shs3500 at the end of the day.

Typical day

Ngobi says having seen a number of deliverymen picking food from his aunt’s restaurant to go sell it and earn commission, he realized he could do the same.

“I asked aunt to allow me move around the city looking for customers and she accepted.”

He says that his typical day begins at 6am when he leaves home to come to the restaurant to help out on some chores as they prepare food for breakfast and lunch.

“I help out buying items like tomatoes, onions, cooking and sauce. I buy these from Nakasero market where they are a bit cheaper and when breakfast is almost ready, I move out to various customers from whom I pick orders,” he says.

Ngobi says unlike before, he now earns from each plate he is able to sell to customers.

“Previously I would earn shs3500 per day no matter the plates I sold. However, right now I earn shs1000 from each plate I sell.”

He explains that in order to earn a good amount at the end of the day, he looks for as many customers as possible.

“ I move to the big offices including the Central Police Station, Buganda Road Court and the arcades where people don’t want to move to get food. I therefore take it to them but a plate that goes for shs5000, I charge shs6000 as the extra amount is my commission.”

He however says it depends on the distance and when it is too far, he charges shs2000.

To ensure he effectively does his work, Ngobi says he gave out his contacts and many of his customers’ just call to make orders and he delivers.

“Many of these customers give my number to their colleagues who also call to have food delivered to their workplaces. On a good day I can make shs25000.”

He says in the evening after the food is finished, he balances with his aunt to see how much he has made.

 “My aunt is happy with the way I have increased on her sales. She now gets more customers than previously where I only had to wait for those who came to the restaurant.”

Ngobi leaves work at around 7pm to return home to Mengo where he rented a single room where he now stays after leaving the aunt’s home in Kibuli.

“I am happy with my job and I hope I can be able to collect money enough to enable me return to school to complete secondary school and join university. I want to be a chef in future,” he says.

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