With an investment of over $4 million in the island’s newest fast-food franchise, Ralph Bizzy Williams says plans are already in place for four outlets here, though he is hoping for more.
The chairman of Williams Industries Inc. gave the thumbs up to business in Barbados with the large investment in Burger King outlets, when he and his Jamaican partners Richard Luke and Frank Ventura of Burger King Jamaica, along with Minister of Industry Donville Inniss turned up at the Bridge Street Mall in the City to open the new outlet.
Displaying confidence in the local economy, Williams said: “So far we have invested $4,645,520 to bring these restaurants to Barbados. Half of this money has come in as foreign exchange from our Jamaican partners. We have not borrowed any money from financial institutions in Barbados, so these restaurants would not be blocking the availability of funds for small enterprises. We do intend to continue expanding the range with more restaurants.
“So far we have permission for four restaurants and we’d like permission for eight. We hope to open an outlet in Lower Broad Street and after that one at Warren’s, St Michael. During the construction period we employed 40 construction [workers] for about six months to build out the two restaurants. We have employed a total of 83 vendors, all Barbadian small and large companies to assist us in the supply of goods and services. We are renting several homes in Barbados to house international trainers to train the local staff.
“We want to ensure that the quality of service here is equal to that in the USA and any part of the world. I am not willing to compromise on the quality of service at all,” Williams added.
The businessman stressed thtough that this was no “fly by night” operation, but rather that he had been involved with his partners Burger King of Jamaica, for the past 25 to 30 years.
He noted that Burger King Jamaica had 27 outlets in Jamaica and others in St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Williams however complained about the inordinate delay in clearing a mobile canteen from the Bridgetown Port, which he said would be used to evaluate the response of customers to the product across the country.
Expressing concern at the delay in clearing the canteen, Williams said: “If the authorities in the USA were to subject goods being transporting from Florida to South Carolina to customs clearance, commerce in the USA would grind to a halt. However, this is the case in the Caribbean where goods shipped from one country to another are subjected to customs clearance.”
He told his audience that he would like to open a huge warehouse in Barbados to warehouse Toyota parts for the entire region, but he feared that such an operation would run into many administrative roadblocks. (NC)