In Summary
  • Workaholic. Businessman Kevin Gidudu never calls a timeout. He says, in football you play 90 minutes, in rugby 80 minutes, basketball 48 minutes, but in bar business it is 24/7/365 and the competition is trying to kick you out.
  • Gidudu sold only one bottle of Gilbeys gin on day one. He went back to the drawing boards and relaunched a day later. He has never looked back.

Kevin Gidudu, never saw himself owning a bar at any particular time but today he is a proud of owner of High 5 Bar in Kireka.
Gidudu has run High 5 Bar for just a year but he has already built a reputation as one of the best liquor vendors in the densely populated Kireka locality, giving rivals a run for their money. Despite neighbouring four other big bars in the same building that hosts High 5 bar, Gidudu has managed to fend off the stiff competition and register profits in millions of cash.

Starting
After three years of working as a hair dresser in Masaka, Gidudu wanted to move on. Though the hairdresser business was his, the youthful entrepreneur wanted something completely new.
He says he decided to sell his salon and relocate to Kampala to chase his dream – owning a liquor store or depot.
However, running a bar business

was not intended to be his primary business venture or his main income source. “I was never going to be a bar owner but after selling my salon in Masaka, I decided to come and start up a business in Kampala,” Gidudu says.

The depot was located in the heart of Kireka town but since Ugandans love to drink, Gidudu found his depot hosting clients who always demanded for chairs to seat and take a bottle or two.
He was forced to buy a few plastic chairs with tables for his customers who chose not to buy the drinks for home consumption but to drink one for the road at the depot.
After four months, Gidudu had many customers who had turned the depot into a bar and he was making good money although he had still stuck to the initial plan and he was selling the liquor and soft drinks to bar owners.

The Bar
Gidudu might have preferred having people sitting around to drink beer than those coming with trucks
to buy crates of beer for their bar stocks.
With about Shs40m that the depot had accumulated, Gidudu’s uncle who is also his mentor advised him to do away with the depot business and start a bar.
Gidudu identified a nearby place in Kireka near the depot, rented the place at Shs1.5m a month for five months, and bought furniture.
He decided to transfer all the stock from the depot to the bar and business started.

Bad beginning
After everything was put in place, Gidudu started work on a Friday with just one employee who was a cashier and a waitress at the same time.
With a nice setting and music being played by himself from his laptop, the bar only sold one bottle of gin.
It costs Shs10,000 in bar and that first night, that is all Gidudu made. It came from his pocket because he bought it for his friend that had passed by.
“We waited for customers until 10pm and left with no other sales made, not even soda” Gidudu recalls.

He says he was not disappointed since he knew it was a new bar and people where yet to know about it.
He expected to see the customers that frequented the depot and made him start a bar but up to now, he had never seen a familiar face come through.

His first money
Afraid that the day one situation would recur, the next day being a Saturday, Gidudu decided to close the bar the whole day.
He went back to the drawing board and decided to officially open to the public on Sunday with a special announcement of “we have free drinks for everyone who comes to the bar before 8pm.”
Whereas many thought by free drinks, everyone would go to the bar and order for any type of drink of their choice, Gidudu had planned it well and stocked buckets of strong cocktails made from passion fruit juice and alcohol.

“Those who chose to drink the cocktails settled for it as other refused and decided to buy beers and other drinks,” Gidudu says.
He chose to sell three bottles of beers at Shs10,000 and that day, High 5 bar drew hundreds of customers.
Gidudu reveals he was overwhelmed by the numbers and that day the bar registered profits of Shs60 0,000 and it was not a bad way to kick off their operations.
Since then, different clients have been coming into the bar. Being a small bar, some of the clients are his friends and others are those recommended by other people.
“We have clients who are travellers and they have a WhatsApp group called High 5 travellers, members are those who are Ugandans who work outside the country and when they return, they unite at High 5,” he reveals.

Midas touch
With just a year into the business, Gidudu says it is his creativity that has enabled him keep his clientele who raid the bar in droves every day.
His customers include university students, business people, travellers and locals. To him every other day presents a new dawn. He says on average he earns Shs800,000 Monday to Thursday and Shs2.5m to Shs3m at the weekend.
“At High 5 Bar every day is special. Our magic is selling three beers at Shs10,000. We have maintained the promo since we started it,” says Gidudu.

Challenges
Because of the high operating costs, Gidudu sums it up that night bar business is clearly one of the hardest businesses to do in and around Kampala.
“Bills such as water and electricity are so high,” he says adding that: “The customers can turn unruly. Sometimes they do not want to pay their bills while others keep breaking bottles and glasses. This has a significant impact on the profit.”

What makes him tick
Special touch. With just a year into the business, Gidudu says it is his creativity that has enabled him keep his clientele who raid the bar in droves every day.
His customers include university students, business people, travellers and locals. To him every other day presents a new dawn.
“At High 5 Bar every day is special. Our magic is selling three beers at Shs10,000. We have maintained the promo since we started it,” says Gidudu.

Inspired
Gidudu sold only one bottle of Gilbeys gin on day one. He went back to the drawing boards and relaunched a day later. He has never looked back.