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Covid Challenge Serves Up New Opportunities For Fijian Kitchen

Fijian entrepreneur Losavati Saketa, founder of food business Kanalevu Kitchen in Suva, has grown a successful and profitable business during a pandemic using creativity, self-belief, and a whole lot of hustle.

From baking and catering to grazing tables and fitness meal prep, Los has pivoted her business many times in the past three years.

Los, an avid baker, and her aunt started out making pies and cakes for people she knew.

“My idea at the time was just to sell food to pay the bills and give me the flexibility to stay home with my kids - it wasn’t to build it into the business that it has become,” she said.

It was the competition within the Suva food industry that drove Los to do things differently.

“The food industry in Suva is really saturated …now more than ever, there are a lot more people selling food, from catering to door-to-door deliveries, baking and more.

“Even Pre-Covid there was a lot, but now all those chefs who used to work in hotels and tourism are doing their own thing from home.

“The market and the competition at the time drove me to do things that others weren’t doing.”



“Giving it a go and trying new things gave me a lot more insight into how big the market for this actually is and how big the demand was for something new.”

Losavati Saketa, founder of Kanalevu Kitchen in Suva, Fiji.



After a lot of scrolling on her phone and research on social media, Los saw an opportunity to bring grazing tables – long banquet tables filled with various foods to share - to Suva.

“Giving it a go and trying new things gave me a lot more insight into how big the market for this actually is and how big the demand was for something new,” she said.

Kanalevu Kitchen had business booked four months ahead, through to July 2020, and that’s when Los decided to grow her team, hiring five new staff members, one of whom was her husband Frank.

But like many, Covid-19 restrictions saw Kanalevu Kitchen’s business dry up overnight.

People were working from home, meeting on the phone or over Zoom, and there was no need for catering services.

Time out from the business forced Los to put her thinking cap on and change things up by catering to essential workers who still had to go to work during lockdown.

“Funnily enough, that downtime was a blessing in disguise for us,” Los said.

We revisited our business plan and changed things up to suit the economic climate we were in.”

Los had completed an ANZ MoneyMinded course prior to starting Kanalevu Kitchen and she revisited her vision for the business.

“MoneyMinded initially gave us a structure and somewhere to start off. It helped me make the mental shift from the office and figure out my vision for life”.

“In the midst of a pandemic you never fall short of ideas.

“I saw everyone doing food deliveries to people’s homes but no one was doing it for the essential workers and businesses that had to continue running.

“So we pivoted our deliveries to corporate office workers and essential workers and collaborated with others in the industry who were affected by the lockdown, sharing venues, skills and expertise.”


That collaboration led Los and her husband to the Suva sports complex. They had previously run the kitchen for a café nearby the Suva pools for a short period, so they saw an opportunity at the complex that others didn’t.

With Covid-contained status, Fijians are able to move relatively freely, meaning many are making it back to the gym, stadium and pools.

“My husband and I are both basketballers. We’ve seen people take more of an interest in their health, wellbeing and fitness,” Los said.

“That’s why we’re opening a new space at the Suva sports complex and branching out by creating prepared healthy meals for sportspeople and others who care about a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a four-pronged attack – we will continue with our catering and grazing tables, open up a café and events space, and branch out into the meal prep space.”


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