Local fast food giant Chefette says though it remains open to expanding its brand across the region, it is not about to abandon Barbados when the island needs its investment most.
“It is tough on everybody. We are continuing to push hard in this country. We are not going to ever give up. God is here with us and we will all survive this,” the company’s Managing Director Ryan Haloute told the gathering, which included former Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and a number of business officials, for this morning’s official opening of Chefette’s newest branch at Lancaster, St James.
“Our view on franchising remains the same. Right now we are leaving all of our options wide open. However, we need to focus internally on our country. We are bleeding and we are hemorrhaging, we need the full troops and support here in our country,” he stressed.
While recalling the closure and sale of the Holetown, St James outlet in 2008 to an overseas investor, Haloute said subsequently a deliberate decision was taken to build more restaurants across the island.
“We just could not refuse especially at a time when the country was going down into a recession,” he said.
“We accepted [the Holetown] offer with the goal to reinvest all of those funds back into the country and expand our business with the hopes of one day returning to the parish of St James,” the businessman added during the launch of Chefette restaurant number 15.
The St James restaurant, which sits on over 8,000 square feet of land, can seat about 170 people and offers parking space for about 40 vehicles.
With the opening of the restaurant, which features a mega 3-storey playground, the company’s total number of employees has also moved to 850.
“This really reaffirms Chefette’s commitment to this local economy, our country and job security in a time that we are all being tested,” the managing director said without disclosing the cost of the multi-million dollar project.
Chefette is set to open another branch in Newton, Christ Church in another three years on which work had already started.
In the meantime, the fast food chain has adopted schools in the Lancaster area – St Silas Primary, Frederick Smith Secondary and Gordon Greenidge Primary.