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Nadia Softa

Babba's Chickens
Manoora, Far North Queensland

Nadia Softa migrated to Australia with a dream for a better life. With a passion for food, Nadia decided to build her own business from the ground up. With Babba's Chickens now a successful business, she plans to expand and refuses to let anything slow her down.

Hi, my name is Nadia Softa. My business name is Babba's King Rooster and we are based in Cairns, North Queensland.

My business is a chicken business; we offer the charcoal chickens, barbecue chickens, and peri peri chickens.

I was a chef, trained chef in Bosnia, we were very poor where I come from, and I was lucky enough to meet an Australian citizen and he brought me here, and here I am.

I have 7 employees and they've been working for me for a long time. To teach your staff what to do you've got to show them, you've got to be there. I've never got any grants from the government, I never know that there was such a thing until recently. I’ve got a grant, a digital grant from the Government and that was, thank you.

People would say, “Do you still eat chicken after all this time?” And I say, “Yes, I do”. Every time I eat my chicken I'm surprised how nice it is. It is really awesome, and if you haven't tried it you've got to. You really have to.

Born in Bosnia, Nadia grew up in a poor family. From age 5, she was working on her family's farm and knew she wanted a better life for herself. In 1969, Nadia left Bosnia to hitchhike her way through Eastern Europe and Southern Asia and eventually arrived in Cairns. With no money, poor English and a baby on the way, Nadia was determined to start a better life for her family.

In the beginning, work was difficult to find and the only job Nadia could get was at her local pub as a waitress. It wasn't long until her passion for food led her to build her own business: a mobile kitchen from a used truck. Obtaining a permit to operate a mobile food van proved difficult, but with much persistence, Nadia succeeded and her business was born.

For 3 years, Nadia ran the mobile kitchen during the day and worked as a waitress at night. After saving enough money to buy a dilapidated Queenslander, she renovated it to include a grocery store and eventually an inflatable boat shop. When both those businesses failed, Nadia realised she wanted to fully embrace her passion for food and decided to open Babba's King Rooster her own chicken shop. Despite competition from major franchises, Nadia sold her mobile kitchen to commit full time to the chicken shop. She designed her kitchen with no walls in an open style so that patrons could see the food being prepared from start to finish. Nadia expanded her space and incorporated a car park and drive-through component, renaming it to Babba's Chickens.

Today, Nadia fully owns Babba's Chickens and is expanding to open both beef and fish shops. Nadia regards Queensland as her country by choice and continues to work hard for the things she is passionate about.

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