Local fast food chain Chefette Restaurants has no immediate plans to franchise its multi-million dollar operation.
But managing director Ryan Haloute has given the assurance that the company will continue to expand locally as it continues to invest millions in the struggling Barbados economy.
In fact, Haloute said the 42-year-old company already had plans to open another branch.
He made the announcement this morning to a group of private sector officials as he officially announced the opening of the restaurant’s 15th branch, located in Welches, St Thomas. That branch hires about 60 people, taking the total number of Chefette employees to just over 800.
Saying that he has been asked many times about setting up Chefette operations overseas, Haloute said while he has not ruled out the possibility, there were no immediate plans to, as the growth of the Barbados economy was the company’s priority.
“Our view on franchising is this . . . we have always left that option very open. We have not said no to it, but for right now our country is really in turmoil. We need to focus all of Chefette’s efforts – our resource and our staff – on our country . . . We are focusing on this [market]. We are going to keep expanding,” he said.
He explained, too, that franchising, although done by some international brands, would not be easy for the Chefette brand given its vast
“That is almost like five different fast foods in the world, but under one brand that we call Chefette. So it takes a lot of effort and care. It needs to be planned very thoroughly. I am sure if you go wherever in the world, whether in the Caribbean or not, you want to walk in and buy an all beef roti or chicken and potato roti and it tastes how it is in Barbados. If it tastes different you [will say] ‘this is not Chefette man . . .’ So it really needs to be well thought out,” explained Haloute.
“But right now our view is that we are in the battle for our country coming out of this recession. We need all hands on deck in this country. We need our best employees in this country focusing on this country and not [elsewhere] . . . We are focusing on here and that is our stance on the franchising issue,” he added.
As it related to the new location, Haloute said: “We always have something . . . in the pot cooking for another location. Once it’s confirmed and finalized then we can make an announcement.”
He said the company was awaiting approval “for what needs to be done” before giving details.