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Josateki Malani, A Former Civil Servant Turns Entrepreneur

Thirty-three year old Josateki Malani was a civil servant for five years earning just enough to provide for the family. It was only after he resigned from his job to
28 Sep 2019 15:13
Josateki Malani, A Former Civil Servant Turns Entrepreneur
Local delicacies served at Fitu Rua Restaurant at Suva's Flea Market.

Thirty-three year old Josateki Malani was a civil servant for five years earning just enough to provide for the family.
It was only after he resigned from his job to open his new business in October 16 2018, that he reaped the rewards of being a new business owner.
He started a restaurant.
He had earlier developed the family’s farm.

Inspiration
Mr. Malani named the restaurant after his five-year old daughter Fitu.

He opened the restaurant at the popular flea market in Suva.
He added that he started the business because of his family and his farm.

“I got six crew members in the restaurant and five at the village looking after the farm.

“Now there are 1312 yaqona plants and 2600 dalo plants.

“I’m quite impressed with what I am doing now rather than working for the civil service,” he added.

Fitu Rua Restaurant
Mr. Malani added that he learnt about running a business from his father.

“He was trying to get me to go to school in Tailevu, Ratu Kadavulevu School (RKS) and Queen Victoria School (QVS).

“One message that he told me was that if you want to be a millionaire, just come back to our family land because this is green gold.

“He only advised me about yaqona, which was in 1994, 1995 and 1996.

It was from this advice from his father that he started planning with his wife to run a business.
“So I met one of my aunties in America and from there, I worked with her and was surprised with the pay check when I first started this business,”Mr Malani added.

Benefits
The former civil servant had invested $8,500 into the business and the rewards of this have benefited the family as well.

“But at the same time it is a win-win situation as I am creating employment for the local people,” said Mr Malani.

Customer Feedback
Mr Malani said, the restaurant business has received positive feedback from customers such as the Fijian rugby players.

“Patrick Osborne came here first and then he went to the camp and told the rest of the team.

“Josua Tuisova the captain and Eroni Sau, they all came here on Wednesday.

“On Thursday, there were some new Fiji team members that came along with them.

“On Friday, the Fiji rugby team came with their families and I was happy,” said Mr Malani.

Business Performance
Mr Malani explains that everyday has been a learning process in operating the business.

“I’m still learning everyday on how to operate the business but I am happy about the sales that I get every day from the starting of the business because friends and families are sharing them on Twitter, Facebook and I can see a lot of new faces coming here to buy.

“Some of the old boys, they ask if I can cater for them but I’m still planning to do that,” he said.

Future Plans
Mr Malani plans that in three years’ time, he would expand to other parts of Fiji.

“I will be able to open five restaurants; three in Suva, one in Nadi and one in Lautoka.

Menu
Fitu Rua’s daily menu includes:- fish with miti, sui “beef soup”, Rourou “taro leaves” with lamp neck
For Thursday, Friday and Saturday the menu is seafood.

Advice
The former QVS student is advising those who may one day want to start their own business, to always follow their heart.
“If you want to do it, you can do it”“Just follow your heart and discipline yourself from negative comments,” Malani advised.

Opening Hours
Fitu Rua restaurant opens from Monday to Saturday from 6am to 6pm.

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