Cake City has established itself in the world of cakes thanks to its eagerness to meet the changing needs of customers.
Mohammed Zahir, CEO of Cake City, says Company that Kenyans are now more interested in the sophisticated and luxurious cakes the company strives to satisfy.
He notes that the demand for reality cakes in particular has grown exponentially, helped by the internet.
“We recently had a client who wanted a dog cake. It was the birthday of the family dog and they wanted us to make a cake in the image of their dog. We did the job,” Mr. Zahir said.
The entrepreneur noted that the explosion of social media has led to the evolution of cakes in Kenya and around the world.
According to Mr. Zahir, people are no longer ordering cakes not just to eat but also to show off on their social media platforms, leading to a demand for fancier cakes.
“That’s why the demand for reality cakes, in particular, has increased because people want to outperform their peers. People want cakes that replicate the things they cherish the most,” he said.
Birthday and wedding cakes, he says, aren’t what they used to be.
Families, he says, buy their children cakes that feature their favorite cartoon characters, while couples use their cakes to tell their love stories.
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Baby showers and gender reveal parties have also been popularized through social media, which has also led to an increase in the demand for cakes.
“We get so many people coming to our stores for cakes that look like the ones posted on Instagram. This is good for us, as it also helps us improve our service offering,” he says.
And it’s not just about individuals; businesses have also joined the bandwagon.
Companies big and small, he notes, use cakes to celebrate all sorts of events, creating big business for them.
Cake City currently works with brands such as Kenya Airways, Mastercard, Jubilee Holdings, DHL and Safaricom.
Cake City was launched in 2012 in Westlands, Nairobi by Hasnain Noororani, founder and owner of PrideInn Hotels, Resorts and Camps.
During a business trip around the world, Mr. Noorani tasted various dishes, desserts and flavors of cakes. That’s when the idea of a cake-focused business came to light.
The new cake flavors he had spotted include Milky Caramel, Chocochip, Fresh fruit cake, American Fruit cake which are now star products. The businessman didn’t want to focus on mainstream brands such as Black Forest and chocolate buttercream cakes.
The first branch in Westlands now functions as the flagship branch in Cake City.
“We have identified a gap in luxury cakes. The bakers only made basic cakes and their flavors were very unique. We wanted to change that,” Mr. Zahir said.
The business which started with 5 million shillings has since grown to eight branches in Nairobi, with more plans to open more branches across the country.
The company has about sixty employees in all its branches. When it opened, it had employees.
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Mr Zahir says the company now has a monthly turnover of 10 million shillings and bakes an average of 5,000 kilograms of cakes every month.
“We have managed to grow our business over the past decade thanks to the hard work of our workers,” he says.
On a good day, Mr. Zahir says the business can sell up to 100 cakes, especially during the holiday season. Their cakes are sold between 2,200 and 3,000 shillings per kilo.
August and December are high seasons for the company, with low months being January, February and March.
Despite cementing its leadership position in the cake space, the company is facing a number. So far, the biggest hurdle has been coping with the high rate of inflation.
Inflation in Kenya hit a 27-month high in May due to a spike in the prices of essential items like cooking oil, food, fuel and soap, squeezing household budgets and demand for goods and services.
“The cost of most of our ingredients has skyrocketed. From the wheat flour, cooking oil and flavors we use, everything seemed to rise. Logistics was also a major hurdle, mainly due to the high cost of fuel,” says Zahir.
Going forward, Mr Zahir revealed that Cake City has earmarked a budget of 20 million shillings in the 2022 financial year to rebrand and support its expansion plan.
The company is rebranding as part of its plan to enter new markets and encourage engagement with its customers.
“We have just integrated new visuals into our brand. We intend to use the new look to attract more customers,” he said.
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Pride Group includes PrideInn Hotels, PrideDrive Cake City, PrideFuel, Airduka, Glory tours and safaris and Westlands Banquet Centre.