Even before Warrens became the bustling thoroughfare and business centre it is today, owners of the local fast-food chain Chefette Restaurants had a vision for the area, and capitalized on it.
And today, if managing director Ryan Haloute and deputy managing director Janine Haloute had their way, Warrens would be called a town.
Over the past 43 years, the company has expanded across the island, now having 15 restaurants and ten drive-thrus; over 800 staff members; and an extended menu.
The latest of Chefette’s developments is the multimillion-dollar renovation of its Warrens branch, which was the eighth location to be built.
Among the features, the upgraded facility boasts a mega three-storey playground, separate pay and pick-up windows, indoor and outdoor seating for about 250 people, digital menus and posters, and five additional staff members, taking the total at that branch to 80.
Addressing its official reopening this morning, Janine Haloute recalled Chefette had been “itching” for years to have the branch renovated, but had to delay such until it was able to open the Welches facility nearby to service the needs of customers during the four weeks of upgrading.
The Welches, St Thomas location was opened in May last year.
“Warrens was opened in December, 1996 . . . . Back then, our only neighbours were Simpson Motors and at the time Shell [Service Station] Warrens. Since then the Warrens [block] has exploded into a huge residential and business area to rival [Bridgetown]. In fact, I would say it is even busier,” declared Janine.
She said Chefette was committed to continually upgrading the facilities, as well as the skills of staff.
All the equipment, air-conditioning units, refrigeration systems, electrical system, flooring, ceiling and décor were removed and replaced to produce the newly refurbished Warrens branch.
The previous 75 staff members were assigned to other branches during the month of renovation, and underwent further training as well.
The project came in under budget and on time.
In his presentation Ryan Haloute recalled the early days of the company, which was built by his father and other investors.
“In 1993, Assad Haloute, our managing director at the time, bought the site in Holetown, St James, and he built the double express Chefette Drive-Thru,” said Ryan, explaining that it had no seating only two windows –– one for cars and one for walk-up customers.
Two years later, because of the growing demand, Chefette was forced to establish bigger accommodation. That property was eventually closed and sold recently.
And while the transportable double express facility had been earmarked for Warrens, the decision was taken to move it to St Philip instead. It was in 1996 that Ryan’s father Assad also decided to build the Warrens Chefette Restaruant and BBQ Barn.
At that time Warrens was on the cusp of development, but many people seemed hesitant to set up operations there, with only two major businesses in the area being the service station and a car dealership.
“There was no highway; the road was very bumpy; and there was a lot of grass in the area. That was about it,” recalled Ryan Haloute.
“You fast-forward to where it is now and, as pointed out by Janine, Warrens is a town. It just hasn’t been branded that way yet. It can rival Bridgetown, and the area is booming,” he said.
Warrens is currently home to a wide range of micro, small and medium-sized businesses from all industries and sectors, a shopping mall, supermarkets and private and Government offices.
“We are seeing these skyscrapers, as I like to call them, being put up in the area. So we say, ‘Hey, we are going to build the most modern Chefette and even up the notch with what we did last year in Welches’,” Ryan said.
Today Chefette placed emphasis on the commitment of staff, stressing that the continued success of the Warrens branch was due to their hard work, as well as continued support of customers and suppliers.