Opinion was divided right through the middle on Wednesday after the menu of a popular restaurant in Gigiri, Nairobi County, surfaced online depicting the prices of meals in dollars.
Reports indicated that the restaurant owner has effected a new policy requiring all customers to pay for meals and services in dollars on account of the weakening Kenyan Shilling.
As of Wednesday, November 29, one dollar was exchanging for 152.73 units of the Kenyan Shilling even as business persons within Kenya continue to report an acute dollar shortage.
In a statement, the restaurant owner remarked that he had decided to take this direction to protect his business based on the performance of the Shilling over the course of the year.
“We want a stable business, the shilling is not stable,” the entrepreneur remarked.
A photo of a person counting 100-dollar bills
To that end, the restaurant owner advised his customers to convert their currency to US dollars at local forex bureaus before walking into his establishment to have a meal.
As Kenyans continued to engage in conversation over the matter, another line of discussion emerged where a section of observers were left perplexed by the high prices of food at the restaurant in question. The menu priced chapati and a serving of beans at Ksh1,600 (USD10.99).
However, the restaurant offers free deliveries in select areas within Nairobi, a service Kenyans described as a complementary gesture due to the high food prices.
Another section of Kenyans also shared similar experiences of being asked to pay for services in dollars at restaurants and stores as businesses move to cushion themselves from losses.
Meanwhile, Kenyans have continued to express concern over the weakening shilling which they pointed out is exercabating the high cost of living. Many have called on the government to act to stop the Shilling from weakening further against the dollar.
Highlighting how much of a challenge the situation is, Kenya Power, earlier in the year floated the idea of charging tokens in dollars as a means to arrest its losses.
Similarly, in September, a report by Knight Frank also showed how the dollar was affecting apartment and office space renting trends.
According to the report, companies are avoiding office space because landlords are now insisting that tenants pay in dollars.
Kenya Power technicians installing a transformer in Kisumu County on April 5, 2022.