Burgers Like They Used To Be

At the other end of Nadi, just before the airport turnoff on the way to Lautoka, is an establishment which has become something of an icon in a very short
03 Dec 2016 11:00
Burgers Like They Used To Be
Burger Boss signage just before the Nadi International Airport.

At the other end of Nadi, just before the airport turnoff on the way to Lautoka, is an establishment which has become something of an icon in a very short time.

It is housed in a building with a dining area that is basically a very large veranda, open to the street on two sides, and an enclosed kitchen and preparation area.

There is a lot of on- street parking and the restaurant is clearly visible from the Queens Highway.

It is the brain child of John Cheer, originally from Australia, but a long term Nadi resident.

Named “Burger Boss”, but now generally referred to by the locals as the “Boss”.

It is based on the old fashioned local Hamburger Bars that used to adorn every suburb in Australia, but have now generally been displaced by the fast food operators.

In the short time it has been open here it has created a loyal group of customers.

Initially mainly expats, but now attracts a growing number of locals as well and it is so well patronised that it is now open 24/7.

And it seems to be as well patronised for lunch as it is for dinner.

In addition to the eat-in menu, the Boss also does a roaring takeaway business because of the central location in the rapidly growing Votualevu/Legalega section of town.

The restaurant is furnished with an interesting collection of tables and chairs, none of which really match but serve their purpose well.

It has a nice display of neon signs and other memorabilia, obviously collected over the years.

The Boss’s burgers are old fashioned; a delightfully fresh sesame seed bun, a thick burger (well cooked but not overdone) six different types of salad ingredients including beetroot, onion and a special sauce.

You can choose from beef, chicken and fish burgers and at eight dollars the price is old fashioned too.

John also does an authentic Aussie prawn cutlet in a firm batter which you can have as an appetiser or a meal, or you can choose from other offerings on the blackboard menu.

This includes daily specials.

There is a delicious fish and chip deal, or you can enjoy the land version (chicken and chips), and John creates a really interesting fish basket.

This has a variety of seafood depending, on what was available fresh that morning.

He also has a couple of other meal choices each day and there are a number of snacks at lunch time at the amazing cost of $5, which is a big hit with all the tradies in town.

The secret of the Boss’s food is pretty simple, keep the menu limited and manageable and give everyone a decent serve.

The other thing that makes all the difference is that John refuses to have anything pre-cooked and waiting in a warmer.

The Boss also insists on all the ingredients being fresh that day and if there is something not available a substitute will be used.

So the food is always delicious and the service is very fast.

All the staff are personally trained by John and he spends a lot of time hovering around checking the end product.

The Boss is not licensed to sell alcoholic drinks but you are welcome to bring your own and enjoy the drink of your choice with your meal.

But they are insistent that all drinking has to be done responsibly and they point out that the Boss is a restaurant, not a bar.


Growing the business

There are plans to expand the business and shortly something new will be added.

John had an establishment in Nasoso which operated for many years, until he decided to live in Australia and retired.

A decision he reversed after he realised he loved Fiji and didn’t want to live anywhere else.

At Nasoso he had a bakery that became famous for the speciality bread it baked and now the original bakers have returned and will soon be making the beautiful loaves again.

The Boss will have the best rye, multi-grain and sour dough loaves around, all baked on the premises.

And with so many skilled bakers it also makes sense to introduce a range of speciality products such as cakes, croissants (in its various forms) and pastries to round out the offerings.

This will be introduced as soon as the ovens are fully functional.

Boss has also put in a beautiful pizza oven and will also be making pizzas. In keeping with their policy every pizza is freshly made to order.

Soon you can call you order in and the pizza will be waiting for you when you arrive to pick it up.

The pizzas come in three sizes to match all the different family needs.

Burger Boss also has an active take away business.

The service is quick and everything is cooked to order so food is always fresh and hot and the staff is friendly and helpful.

Eating in is a pleasant experience in the very relaxed atmosphere and the fresh breezes that drift through the open veranda.


Planned expansion

The first outlet has been so successful that John has decided to expand and wants to have a Boss in every major Fiji city or town by the end of 2017.

They have identified two locations already and the Boss will start appearing in new places from about March.

And Burger Boss has clearly shown that there is always an opportunity to start a business.

Success is guaranteed if you satisfy a demand, have a new twist to an old story, and provide obvious value for money.

That about sums up the Boss and what it is about.

John Ross is a Nadi-based marketing and advertising specialist with a long background in tourism. For feedback on this article, please email him:



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