Did you professionally train as a food and beverage manager?
I always had an interest in culinary arts but then I had to go to work as a lifeguard in Dubai in 2007 after high school. In my two years there, I realised there was so much I could do and so I switched to cooking. I trained as a chef, with a focus on Thai and Indian cuisines.
Is that what prompted you to come back home and get into the business?
After the training, I gained confidence in my cooking and so I came back home to work in my family’s restaurant here in Diani. I later took over as manager and we upgraded the menu to seafood and a-la-carte menu.
Four years after coming aboard, we moved to a better location; the previous one neighboured Tandoori club on a red-light district that didn’t sit well with families. This led to the birth of Bidibadu Restaurant and Bar.
We had barely settled in when we got evicted from the premises after the owner sold the property. I quickly approached my friend Gitau, Matiba’s son and requested to use his beachfront property.
He allowed me to set up Bidibadu without hesitating. It was a heartfelt gesture that will never depart my memory. Within six months, the place was brimming with so many patrons that we couldn’t accommodate all of them.
So business was booming?
It was but this popularity came with a price. Some of my neighbours were not happy with my progress and would send cops to harass me and they still do. I had a bigger picture of giving Diani a vibe whereby even the local youth could have a place to chill at affordable prices.
It was unsettling to see people coming to Diani on holiday but drive back to Mombasa for nightlife. Bidibadu offers that now. We got some resistance but we managed to grow the vibe and have a lot of patrons. We market Dianiby hosting lots of events and musicians. Now BidiBadu has become a brand and extended into an accommodation resort.
So now you are running two beachfront properties?
Established in 2009, Bidibadu is a restaurant and bar and stands well as a club providing the needed nightlife entertainment for Diani. Bidibadu Beach Resort, which I co-own with my business partner Mr Tostin, offers accommodation with various facilities. They both run throughout the year to ensure that our team gets paid.