Caption:?Sandeep displays the sealed smoothies they have on offer at Tuttie Fruity, Nadi. Photo: SUPPLIED.
Tutti fruitti is Italian for all fruits. Its presence in popular culture is immortalised in Little Richard?s 1955 smash hit single of the same name. So when 35 year-old Sandeep Singh decided to go into the food business in the jet set town, what better name than Tuttie Fruity to capture the ideal of what he envisioned his enterprise as.
?Tuttie Fruitty is an international brand name for fruit products and the name means the blending of the fruits. I have used the same name as it is a well-known brand name for fruit lovers internationally,? the former United Nations employee said.
?I started this business with the focus of using locally grown products to promote a healthier lifestyle. This way I could also help our local fruit and vegetable farmers.?
Sandeep?s business model paid off as it has won him the 2013 FDB Small Business Award for Tourism which was presented in Suva on 14 November. A popular haunt for tourists in Nadi, Tuttie Fruity specialises in freshly blended fruits drinks, smoothies and cold coffees amongst others.
Sandeep is well-travelled. After completing high school in Lautoka, he pursued a degree in public administration at the University of Technology in Sydney in 1997 before going on to work for the UN in Singapore and the Philippines in between 2001 and 2009 at which time he also took the opportunity to complete his Masters in public administration before returning home in 2011.
?I decided it was time to come back home and invest but when I came back in 2011 there were two floods that happened in January and March. I saw how the farmers were affected struggled to recover so when we started in August last year, I made a point of ensuring that we always buy directly from farmers.?
The business concept for Tutti Fruity was shaped by Sandeep?s travels to more than 30 countries during his time with the UN.
?In countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore fruits are highly valued as a food item. When you walk through the streets you can buy freshly squeezed fruit juice instead of canned and bottled soft drinks which are unhealthy. This has always stuck with me and I thought it a good idea to bring that here as well because we have an abundance of local fruits than can be blended into a healthier substitute for carbonated drinks,? Sandeep said.
Sandeep?s relationship with the Fiji Development Bank is a recent one. This year we have helped him re-finance one loan as well as provided working capital was provided working capital to purchase equipment for the restaurant such as a coffee maker and a sealing machine. The sealing machine helps contain spillage common with many takeaway drink containers.
All items on the restaurant menu are fresh and made in front of customers particularly the beverages. In addition, Tutti Fruity also provides light meals such as pizzas but with fresh vegetable toppings as well as sandwiches.
?A lot of pizza places have thick toppings of canned fruits but we do everything fresh and we also make our own pastes with fresh fruits for the pizzas,? Sandeep said. He also ensures that all the meat they use is halal however they only serve chicken, lamb and seafood.
As his patronage grows, Sandeep knows that to maintain his competitive edge, he has to be accommodating to what his customers want. Ultimately, he plans to open an outlet in all of the major municipalities in his effort to promote a healthier lifestyle. His second shop is due to open in Suva soon.