ALTHOUGH they have different professional pursuits, the Kahorongo sisters (Uripi, Florence, Jane and Ester) have a few things in common; a determination to succeed and desire to keep their sisterly bond intact.
Together, they ventured into the business of fast food having saved up capital for several years before establishing Eureka Burger, Fish and Fries. The fast food outlet was recently officiated by Windhoek Mayor, Muesee Kazapua at the B1 Mall in Katutura. Kazapua lauded the sisters for defying the status quo of foreign dominated fast food outlets in Namibia. He described the business as a fast food outlet that emerged from the heart of Katutura, true to its roots of the location for which it is designed for.
“I am happy to note that this outlet specialises mainly in burgers and fish fries, which are prepared with love for both children and adults alike. It is therefore gratifying to see Namibians flourishing in this kind of business. ”
In an interview with Confidente this week, Florence who sold the idea to her sisters talks about the hurdles they had to overcome to make Eureka happen.
A 40-year-old mother and last born out of 12 kids, she decided to try her hand at building her own company with the help of her sisters after noticing a gap in the market when it came to fast food content. Florence is the face of the company.
She raised funds for the business through catering, doing braais and saving from her day job but all this was not enough to set a business of an international standard until she had sold the idea to her sisters who helped to raise more funds.
Briefly tell us about yourself?
I finished my schooling at A. Shipena High School and then studied hospitality management at the then Polytechnic of Namibia now known as NUST. My original idea was to buy a franchise when I saved enough money but the funding requirements was prohibiting. I decided to involve family to help with finances to secure the much needed money and they become shareholders.
At school we did not learn entrepreneurship. I wish we can make entrepreneurship a compulsory subject in Namibian schools if we really want to change our people’s mindset.
I learnt a lot about food and the hospitality industry during my college years as well as catering services: things that I believe should be common knowledge. It took me a very long time to get serious in business. The main factor behind Eureka Burger and Fries cc was me wanting to create home food and entertainment to make life easier to busy folks and families with little time.
Also, our late father Jefta Kahorongo ran a soup kitchen in Katutura. He was generous to strangers or friends and always gave them food when they came to our house. We learned to serve any crowd at a young age. This is the basis that formed the foundation of our business, charity starts at home.
Tell us about the establishment of Eureka?
The business was born in 2009 but it wasn’t until 2016 when we changed the name from Nguni Lounge to Eureka Burger, Fish & Fries. After a year of preparation and development the outlet officially launched on January 20.
The current business model is very much focused on servicing people who need fast meals while on the go and we also look at our second leg of catering and delivery to various places. We will aim to be the best first fast food outlet that delivers anywhere including Katutura to our registered clients with applicable terms and conditions. We currently operate on a 15-minutes at most waiting time which we will strive to surpass. We also want to be relevant to our community and as part of social responsibility we partnered with A.Shipena to support 10 needy learners with school uniform and learning materials. We will at a later stage introduce sponsorship opportunities to more learners from other schools.
What sets Eureka apart from other fast food outlets?
There is nothing like Eureka burger, fish & fries taste anywhere. We embrace a culture of quality service and caring for our community. This is a female owned business by local Namibian women who want to make a difference and empower their community by creating not only employment opportunities but support the educational establishments in our country.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
There are numerous key moments in our journey so far and without them, we wouldn’t have been able to make our biggest achievement to date. That has to be the moment we first opened Eureka BFF as a “real” fast food outlet. It’s a huge achievement and one that was a result of thousands of hours of hard work by the team and friends and family who supported us in their special ways.
What setbacks have you had along the way?
It’s inevitable that every startup or small business goes through periods of growth, and will have a fair share of challenges. Although the funding eventually took more than a year there were a few bumps along the road with major alterations to key contracts and commercial terms which at times threatened to cause the plans to fall apart. But in the end, tenacity won. And with there being so many components necessary to create a real fast food out let like ours , we’ve had various challenges be it long gas lines on the premises, getting a top chef and equipment.
Where do you see Eureka in five years’ time?
Our mid-term goal is to become the number one fast food outlet with branches outside Windhoek while maintaining a core thread of serving the need in the food industry. We’re an agile business, always pushing boundaries and trying new things to better food industry as an entertainment, and improve quality of life and yet give a variety to enthusiasts. We’re at the beginning of our journey and as we develop, we will want you to see us grow to become the place to go for good service, with professional staff and quality meals and plough back in the education of our community.
What one tip would you give to others starting out?
Stick to what you believe in, but at the same time listen and consider advice from experts who have “been there” and “done it”. Too often, the blinkers are too tightly fastened for entrepreneurs when developments and new ideas may be sparked by listening or watching. It’s easy to miss these opportunities, so remember that we’re always learning and there are always different ways to do things. Sometimes they’re better. Having the ability to consider and act accordingly is often the difference between success and disaster.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015