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Sarova ventures into restaurant business

Hotels chain Sarova Hotels and Resorts has opened up two resturants in Nairobi in a move the management says is aimed at diversifying from the trademark trademark hotel and accomodation business.

The resturants are The Kitchen by Sarova and ChiSo aimed at cushioning the hotel in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has hurt the hospitality industry.

Seeking to fill the gap between the hotel dining sector and standalone restaurants, the two additions launched in Westlands, Nairobi at the Urban Eatery Delta Towers, will target foodies who want to experience a luxury culinary experience.

During the launch, Sarova Hotels and Resorts Director, Food and Beverage Operations, Shailendar Singh, said that the current situation has presented an opportunity for exploration and the hospitality industry is experiencing a wave of reinvention in terms of choice and culinary services.

“To make ourselves more accessible to guests, we are taking our brands out to the market. This is a unique initiative where a major hotel chain is taking its F&B brands out of its premises. Usually, we find hotels taking other restaurant brands and franchises into their space but for the first time, we as a hotel chain, are taking our culinary repertoire into this diverse and expanding Westlands area.” said Mr Singh

The Kitchen by Sarova is a reflection of the Hotel’s famous Thorn Tree and Flame Tree cafe style restaurants with all day multi occasion dining offering Western, African and Indian influenced cuisines.

On the other hand, ChiSo by Sarova which is inspired by Sarova’s award winning and celebrated Thai Chi is a new avatar with a Pan Asian palette of Japanese, Malay, Thai, Indonesian and Chinese cuisine with an aspect of the holistic culture appealing to the yin & yang of 5 senses and tastes.

The launch signifies the first step into a brighter future for Sarova Hotels and Resorts as it looks out for new and strategically viable projects to diversify its brand. The venture is hoped to produce a positive multiplier effect both in the economy and within local communities not only through job creation and financial stability but also through the distribution of new skills and expertise.

The fall in arrivals has hurt Sarova luxury hotels like the Stanley and lodges in parks like Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru.

International visitors fell to fewer than 500,000 in the first 10 months to October from 1.7 million in the same period last year, with the industry reported to have lost close to Sh109 billion in revenue.

“Taking our cuisine brands out of our hotels and making them stand alone restaurants is our latest new development,” said Jimi Kariuki, Sarova managing director.

“This has been a very challenging year for the hospitality industry. But despite this, we at Sarova have seen this as an opportunity to innovate and to be creative through ‘exporting’ our cuisine experiences outside of our hotels.”

Sarova will now battle with other eateries such as Artcaffe, Java, Urban Burger and Nyama Mama.

The food prices in the restaurants will be 15 per cent less compared to what Sarova charges in its hotels.

“We feel the market has become quite sophisticated in terms of cuisines and that’s why we decided to venture outside the hotel,” Mr Kariuki said.

“Urban Eatery is a trendy dining space which offers different kitchens that offer different cuisines. Sarova have taken up two of the kitchens which will be branded.”