Grace Road’s new $4m Rice Mill to be ready soon
Expansion in restaurant business continues as another Snowy House Dessert Cafe opens in MidCity Complex in Suva
The new $4 million Rice Mill, currently under construction in Navua, will be ready to begin processing in a month or two. The South Korean Christian Church-based firm, Grace Road Food Company, began construction of the rice processing plant the past year. Managing director, Daniel Kim, confirmed the mill is about 95 per cent complete. He said the milling machine is completed and they are just waiting for the package design and package material which they have ordered from South Korea.
Senior officer for design and media relations, Grace Park, said while the mill was almost complete, they are doing some last minute work. She said they are ensuring the land was perfect and thus they are making tarseal road inside their farm.
This state-of-the-art complex will be the facility that will see through and manage every post-rice harvest process ranging from drying to milling and eventually to packaging for Grace Road Food Company. From land cultivation to seed management, post-harvest polishing and packaging, all rice production process will be administered by the company.
Through this synchronised, holistic system, Grace Road is aggressively pushing forward in mass production of high-quality rice.
Other areas of investment
Meanwhile, the company also continues to push forward with its other investments in the food and beverage sector. Yesterday it opened yet another Snowy House Dessert Cafe at the ground floor of MidCity Complex in Central Suva.
This adds to the existing outlets in Damodar City, Harbour Point in Lami, Victoria Parade in Suva, JetPoint in Namaka, Nadi and one in Savusavu. Ms Park said the setup and design for every outlet was different as they want customers to feel relaxed and in a different environment when they come. “Business is really good. Many people like our dessert and beverages especially the Snow because this is the only place they can taste our Snow in Fiji.” One of the signature dishes, Rice Cream, is made from the company’s own organic rice which it grows locally. This is not the end of their expansion as there will be another Snowy House opening
in Village 4 in Lautoka within two weeks after it opens following renovations. In addition, the company also plans to open its other franchises, Grace Road Kitchen and Noodle Story in more places around the country in addition to its Awesome Grill Restaurant. Mr Kim confirmed currently, the company has invested close to $2.5 million in its restaurant business. The Grace Road Group is made up of agriculture business, construction, private property development, trading and restaurant. Mr Kim stressed: “We will keep expanding our businesses because we want to create our own identity.”
While the company continues its expansion, Mr Kim said one of their biggest challenges was human resources.
“Basically skilled labour is the challenge. For example, in Fiji, we found it really hard to find someone who is a qualified barrister so we had to get labour from South Korea,” he said. Another challenge has been finding consistent supply of fruits with reasonable prices. Ms Park said this was even worse following the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston. “Maybe we can grow our own fruits like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and then we can become self sufficient,” she said. “Then we don’t have to depend on the overseas fruits and we can solve this problem.”
The Snowy House Dessert Cafe is now open in MidCity Complex in Suva.
Grace Road Foods managing director, Daniel Kim.