SUNBIZ

Fiji’s First Food Truck Hits Suva

Suva’s latest craze The Fiji Food Truck, hit the ground running when it opened its doors in Suva last week. The mobile fast food provider, a first of its kind
24 Dec 2019 11:36
Fiji’s First Food Truck Hits Suva

Suva’s latest craze The Fiji Food Truck, hit the ground running when it opened its doors in Suva last week. The mobile fast food provider, a first of its kind for Fiji, made a name for itself in no time, with cli­ents travelling from as far as Lautoka and Nausori not only for the menu, as to bask in the ambience of the new way of doing busi­ness on the go.

Owners Pauline Benson and Jarrel Kamea are working tirelessly to deliver their second truck, as they work in tandem with local au­thorities to map out guidelines governing the operation of such businesses.

“There are ways we can make it even better. We’re excited about growing.”

Ms Benson, a serial entrepreneur, said the truck, which until now operated in the mov­ie industry, was her partner’s passion.

“This was Jarrel’s brainchild. He got into cooking and catering through his mother. That’s where his passion for food came from,” Ms Benson said.

The Fiji Food Truck was visioned two years ago when Mr Kamea was asked by the movie industry if he had a food truck.

“We said yes, even though we didn’t have one at the time; sold our Navara, and built the food truck,” Mr Kamea said.

It took the pair five months to establish the business.

Taking a break from the movie industry, professional chefs Sanaila Tuivaua, Jarrel Kamea and Ricky Vollmer inside Fiji’s first food truck. Photo:The Fiji Food Truck

Taking a break from the movie industry, professional chefs Sanaila Tuivaua, Jarrel Kamea and Ricky Vollmer inside Fiji’s first food truck. Photo:The Fiji Food Truck

No easy fete

It was no easy fete, Mr Kamea said.

“Trying to start something new in Fiji espe­cially for SMEs – and a food truck business being something new, is quite hard, hard getting around council,” he said. The truck is prohibited by law to operate in public be­cause local authorities lack guidelines on how food trucks are to operate in the capital.

“That’s a loophole, that drags out a little bit longer,” he said.

“It’s just where we set up is the issue.”

The truck is managed by three locally qual­ified chefs.

“There are no days off,” Mr Kamea said.

The couple forked out over $120,000 to buy the truck and afford the fit out which Mr Kamea personally helped build with a help of a friend. The returns, since launching the unique set-up, has been rewarding.

The famous nachos from The Fiji Food Truck. Photo: The Fiji Food Truck

The famous nachos from The Fiji Food Truck. Photo: The Fiji Food Truck

Movie hit

The truck was a major hit in the movie sec­tor, catering for as many as 200 people for the duration of the movie production on the mainland.

Mr Kamea has fed cast and crew on the sets of Love Island, The Bachelor and Fantasy Island.

In the two weeks it has opened in Suva, The Fiji Food Truck gathers as least 130 patrons daily.

“We weren’t sure how that would go, but we’re blown off by the overwhelming sup­port.

“We’re sold out by 3pm daily, but we keep adding more to our menu” Ms Benson said in the face of weeklong operating hours 10am to 5pm.

Reputed for its burgers, nachos and steak sandwiches, the couple have been inundated with requests to take the truck West and oth­er parts of the country.

“We have plans. We have a fully equipped commercial truck which can go anywhere,” Ms Benson said.

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj

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