Chefette committed to Barbados, but franchising not out
(right) Chefette Chief Operations Officer, Maurice Habre chatting with a specially invited guest at the Chefette Lancaster opening.
With many wondering about Chefette’s move to expand considering the economic climate, the companies management has reaffirmed their commitment to the island, the economy, the citizens and their staff especially.
Just prior to cutting the ribbon to declare the 15th Chefette Restaurant on island open, Managing Director Ryan Haloute said:
“This huge investment in this Lancaster Chefette location and also the kind of silent one we did in Lears, St. Micheal, building a 60 000 sq. ft dry and cold storage facility,… it really reaffirms Chefette’s commitment to this local economy, our country, to job security at a time when we’re all being tested. I mean how much can you squeeze a stone and break the bag? It’s tough on everybody. We’re continuing to push hard in this country. We’re not going to ever give up and Father [Clement] Paul as you said, God is here with us, and we will all survive this. We will all survive this. So we’re very blessed to be able to open this location.”
In a time when people are consolidating, retrenching and laying-off, Chefette has hired new persons to man the new branch alongside veterans. The Chefette ‘family’ is now 850-plus.
Haloute said that the decision has been made to fix Barbados first, though the “f-word” is not a no-no.
Speaking about “franchising” as the f-word, he asserted, “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’re bleeding. We’re hemorrhaging. We need the full troops and the support here in our country. Whether it is my generation or the one after that will be tackled and we’re very opened to it, but right now the country needs us here. It needs us for what we’re doing here.”
Learning quickly that the recession which hit back around 2008 was different from any other, Haloute said Chefette understands “it cannot be business as usual. It cannot be robotic and you just continue doing what you normally do… it can’t be like that in your strategy at work. So we had to revamp a lot of what we have done.”
He made mention of their brand ambassadors, social media, marketing and public relations plans, as well as by incorporating new technologies like the drive-thru digital screens.
Haloute said that the next project being undertaken is Chefette Newton where they are trying to incorporate a BBQ Barn as they have not opened a new one since December, 1996, but he said that will take three years minimum with 18 months allocated for design.
Echoing Haloute’s sentiment that home drums beat first, Chefette Chief Operations Officer, Maurice Habre added, “Chefette is a Barbadian brand, first and foremost…
“We will continue to heavily support our local manufacturers and suppliers and will always aim to purchase our goods locally first and the vast majority of our inputs are from local companies… Despite the tough economy and the longest recession the island has ever experienced, as always, Chefette remains committed to Barbados, our 850 employees and our loyal and dedicated customers. We will continue to build and invest to keep our company strong and protect the jobs of our staff and their families who depend on them.”