The story behind Bhello restaurants
By Vimbai Kamoyo
Many would have wondered who “Bhello” is when they see adverts in the newspapers of Bhello restaurants. Well, Business Connect caught up with the man behind the success of the fast food business.
The brains behind, Isaac Chamangira indicated that Bhello has a long history, beginning with the sale of agricultural inputs, to buying a plot in which they grew potatoes to the birth of Bhello restaurants.
“I started selling agricultural products at the onset of the land reform programme. This was a response to the major companies’ withdrawal from the business. I saw a business opportunity and went for it. I was selling from the truck right in the streets. Sure I was violating by-laws but that was the right thing to do at that particular time.
“I was selling fertilizers, chemicals, and irrigation equipment. My main aim was to transform myself and others for the better,” he said.
The self-made businessman said from selling inputs he bought a three-hectare farm in which he was growing potatoes.
“I then bought a plot in which we were exclusively growing potatoes. That is when I thought of adding value to the crop and that saw the opening of the first Bello restaurant in 2011 (the one along Julius Nyerere Way). We had another one in 2018 along Chinhoyi Street, unfortunately that one closed due to circumstances beyond our control.
“Fortunately we opened another branch in Eastlea. Our flagship is about 29 KM from the CBD and it’s on the banks of Lake Manyame. On the one in Manyame, we are giving out tickets on Valentine’s Day to our customers. We will run a raffle, if one wins and is not married then they get the venue for free.
“Our prices are competitive. We allow people to bring their food and drinks. If they choose to support us then they do so out of their own volition. We do not force people. We have finished constructing a beach, so people should come and enjoy our hospitality.
Chamangira said business has not been all rosy, as they had to grapple with the vagaries of inflation.
“We have been hit hard by the volatility of our currency. We are not into speculative business and we sent our money to banks. We have lost a huge chunk of our savings in the banks through inflation,” he said.