Local fast-food brand Chefette could be introduced in other markets within the next ten years.
An indication of this came on Tuesday as officials gathered on the grounds of the company’s Lears, St Michael location during a groundbreaking ceremony to signal the expansion of the chain’s manufacturing division.
The Lears location, where the company opened a warehouse and cold storage facility in 2016, will be the home to its Frosteez ice cream manufacturing plant and meat processing plant.
Managing Director Ryan Haloute told the gathering that the option for franchising remained opened, but suggested that the buildout of the manufacturing arm was a strategic move for that to take place.
Recalling a challenge issued by Prime Minister Mia Mottley several years ago for the fast-food chain to franchise its operation “in her lifetime”, Haloute said: “We agree [but] our focus now is Barbados. We are setting up the infrastructure and the backbone which is our manufacturing arm and then jump leaps and bounds forward to get the Chefette brand outside of Barbados, because it is not as simple as just opening a Chefette.”
“So that is our plan going forward. We eventually want to franchise but we have to pick the right time and just set up the backbone here, because it is more than just opening a Chefette overseas, you have to have all the infrastructure in place, which is our manufacturing arm,” said Haloute.
In her address at the ceremony on Tuesday, Mottley welcomed the company’s agreement to taking the brand overseas in the future, while suggesting that it could take place in the next ten years.
“The fact that you are building out to specs such that you can achieve all of the international certifications is at the essence of what we mean by being world-class and being competitive. But we see that ,like you, as a step along the journey to ultimately franchising,” said Mottley.
“I understand that this is a step in the journey that you have chosen to stay the course such that Barbados can be proud at having a global franchise within the next decade that can be found from as far as Australia, back to the more traditional diasporic cities with which we are familiar,” she said.
Mottley pledged her administration’s support, saying: “My Government is happy to be playing its role in creating the environment that will allow you to move there.”
She said she was even happier that the company was creating jobs over the next three years during the construction phase of the two projects and the subsequent employment of hundreds of workers.
During construction of the ice cream manufacturing plant and the meat processing facility at Lears and the construction of the Newton project, some 150 people are to be employed, and when completed should employ a combined total of 350 people.