Chips Cafe

Start a Chips Cafe’

Budget: Ksh 70,000+

Success Probability: Very High

If you have or can get capital of around Kshs 70,000 to 95,000 (or above) for a business start-up but lack an area to invest in, setting up a medium sized chips cafe’ can be a good idea. You can set up a very successful chips cafe’ in your locality or in any other area that you find convenient.

Your chips cafe’ will have a high chance of succeeding if you keep the following tips in mind.


In the initial stages, you need to budget for your planned chips cafe’ business in order to have in mind roughly how much you will need to set it up and be operational. There are plenty of things you will need to purchase and having an accurate figure will ensure that you harness enough finances to set up your business in the shortest time possible.

Items and cost

Setting up a simple chips cafe’ doesn’t require a lot of equipment compared to a big chips restaurant or hotel with many other offerings on the menu. Below is a list of some basic things your chips cafe’ will need to be fully functional.

Where to buy these items

Once you have compiled this list, it is now time to locate a place to buy them at the cheapest price you can secure. Remember these items are available in many outlets but it is advisable to go for affordable, durable and quality items.

Electric friers: Local supermarkets such as Nakumatt, Tuskys, Uchumi and others stock these friers in various sizes and prices. Other stores along River Road, HotPoint and others like Hypermat and Nairobi Kitchen Care Ltd, opposite Imara Daima junction along Mombasa Road also stock them. You can visit these places and make a decision depending on your budget and needs. Some of these stores also stock gas fired friers. The choice is yours.

Chips cutters: To cut down cost of having to purchase these cutters in a supermarket (which is expensive for a business start-up), buy them at a place where they are made. You are likely to find them at metal welding workshops available around Shaurimoyo or Gikomba in Nairobi. You can approach a welder to make them for you.  You can provide the design of the kind of cutter you need and they will make it or you can also choose from the ready made ones on display.

Display/warmer: This can also be made by welders in metal welding workshops locally. The advantage of making is that you will be free to decide the design that suits your needs and budget.

Furniture: Chairs, tables and other structures can easily be made by local carpenters according to your design, taste and budget.

The rest of the items can be bought from stores or hawkers who sell them at affordable prices. Later as the business grows, you can add a potatoes peeler which is electric. This is also available in local supermarkets and the above mentioned stores at about Ksh.50,000-70,000 depending on the size. However, this is expensive for a start-up since the potatoes can still be peeled by hand.


Once you have all the necessary equipments and items ready, its time to locate premises for your chips cafe’. Such a business is best located in areas with high human traffic commonly found in highly populated residential areas. For a start-up, the best choice would be in a residential area. This is because the possibility of getting an affordable premises is much higher and in many cases you will not be expected to pay any goodwill. Just visit the shopping centers and business centers in a busy and crowded residential area and locate a suitable premises. You will secure a good sized premises with about Ksh.5,000 – 10,000. In many areas you will be expected to pay a deposit equal to the rent so be prepared for that. Be prepared for stiff competition if there are other cafes already operating in the locality. The best way to beat off competition is to offer quality service.

Premises located in town centers are normally very expensive and goodwill is commonly paid depending on the owner of the premises. However, town centers have higher flow of customers and are always busy. For a start-up with limited budget, town center premises may not be a good place to start, unless the budget can allow.

Premises modification

You may require re-do the premises design to an attractive one but this is optional, depending on the premises you get. This can cost you around Kshs 4,000 – 5,000 but the good thing is that you can decide if this is necessary and tailor it to fit your pocket.

Entertainment: If you can afford, invest in a simple music system or a Flat screen TV to entertain your customers. Remember these are not absolutely necessary for a start-up but can add some value to the business.

Electricity / Power: You can arrange this with your Landlord. Same with water.

License: You will have to get a license from the county government to make your business legal. For this type of business, you will also require a health certificate for the premises and for your worker or workers, if you have any. You will also be required to install a fire extinguisher and get clearance for fire safety. All these are issued by the county government.


  • Needs a small budget to start.
  • No low season since people are always eating.
  •  With reliable staff, can be done as a side hustle.
  • All requirements are easily available locally.
  • Can be set up very quickly.


  • You can incur great loss if you don’t have a trustworthy person running the business.
  • You are likely to be affected by long period power outages

With a sack of potatoes going for between Ksh3,000 and 4,000 in the local markets, chips business can be profitable since such a sack can make around 200 packets of chips. To boost your income, you can include sausages, fresh juices, soft drinks, mandazis, samosas or chapatis later.For those who would like to add fried chicken to the menu, you will need a rotisserie for roasting the chicken. Factory rotisseries would cost you about Ksh80,000 – 90,000 at Nairobi Kitchen Care Ltd. However, these can also be made by metal fabricators around Kamukunji, Shaurimoyo or Kariobangi much cheaply depending on capacity like the one shown below.

Above all, in addition to good customer service, you should maintain a very high standard of cleanliness in all areas to attract and retain customers. Food businesses, chips cafe’ being one of them, require very high standards of cleanliness to survive.






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