Restaurant steps up

Talanoa Garden employees at their restaurant in Kinoya. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Talanoa Garden has had to diversify and venture into making free deliveries to survive and keep their staff employed.

According to the company co-director Emosi Sawailau they have been making free deliveries since the containment measures were in place.

“Since this lockdown restrictions came in, it has affected our business the same as any other businesses,” he said.

“But we are blessed that the restaurants were included in the list of essential services that the Government had approved to be open.

“Even though we’ve lost our customers who come to the restaurant every day, it has actually made us more innovative in the ways we can serve our customers.”

He said this was by taking their service to their customers’ doorstep.

“During this lockdown, we are concentrating more on our burgers, our subs and our hot dogs.

“So we are doing free deliveries from 8am until 6pm every day.”

He said there were some restaurants which did free deliveries only if the customers paid $30 or more.

“But for us, someone in Wailoku can buy a burger for $5 and we’ll take it to them.

“So we understand what the people are going through now, it’s hard to move around and government is telling everyone to stay at home.”

Not only were the deliveries free, but Mr Sawailau said they had also dropped the prices on their menu.

“We’ve dropped it down because we know the times are hard and people do not have much cash with them, but they still want to enjoy the food that we do.

“So what we’ve done is we’ve dropped the prices to $5 flat to all the things that we sell and we deliver to anywhere within the lockdown area.

“We even deliver to the border so the guys from Nausori and Lami and Delanevesi can come and pick their order from the border.”

There are about 16 staff members altogether who work at the restaurant and according to Mr Sawailau they have spaced them out during the week.

“At least everyone can get something at the end of the week because they all have families.

“We are blessed that we can get most of them to work during the week and we just stagger the days.”

Mr Sawailau added they have been busy the past weeks as they have been getting a lot of orders.

“We’ve got three vehicles doing deliveries every day.

“In a day average we’ll get about 50 to 60 on a very busy day we’ll get about 70 to 80 and these are not only homes, but we deliver to offices and those people at the border.”

The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday.

Talanoa Garden started its operations around January in Kinoya.

Mr Sawailau said they chose the location because they wanted to offer a service to the residents who they had to get all the way in Suva.

He said they had seen the population which live around the area and majority of them were low to medium income earners.

“We just managed to be innovative, get new ideas and just have to keep hustling to survive.

“This lockdown has taught us a lot of things and there are plans to go online at the moment.

“So these restrictions made us think deep and new ways we can do things.

“So we are rethinking of what to do with the free deliveries after this lockdown, but then we will decide on that when the time comes.”

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