Island Grill to open new Mandeville restaurant tomorrow

BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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Three years ago CEO of Island Grill Thalia Lyn had her eyes set on opening a restaurant in Mandeville after continuous customer requests.

Her plan was to open the new restaurant at the end of 2012, but that changed upon learning that the preferred location would not be available in time.


Fast-forward to 2015, Lyn has secured a location for the establishment of the much-anticipated Island Grill at Midway Mall, Mandeville, covering 3200 square feet. It could be one of the largest restaurants Lyn has completed, indicating that the total investment was "way over budget".


The new restaurant is slated for opening tomorrow.


"We are going to Mandeville because that is where the Facebook fans kept telling us to come," Lyn stated in a telephone interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday.


"We didn’t want to just go there and not be in the right location and we think we have a great location in Midway Mall, just right next to Super Plus," she added. Super Plus is a supermarket chain with two stores in Mandeville.


The repercussion for the fast-food chain not having the ‘right location’ was evidenced back in 2012 when Island Grill had to shutter its Clock Tower Plaza location on Half Way Tree Road, after only two years of operation, because it lacked visibility.


Lyn previously told the Business Observer that the Clock Tower location was the first of its kind for the chain, but the upstairs location had caused the company to not meet its customer volume target. The smaller express branch featured a walk-up counter rather than a full-sized restaurant, and called for less equipment, fewer staff and shorter hours, but also had minimal traffic.


Plans are also underway to close the Kingston Container Terminal restaurant in line with the opening of the Mandeville branch.


The CEO, however, expressed confidence about the new location, noting that her only concern is customer parking as the business develops. Despite the location being equipped with a drive-thru, Lyn said she will be in dialogue with the Manchester Parish Council to have the situation addressed.


"In other words, I want people to love me, not to be complaining about me," she said.


Island Grill currently spans 17 locations across the island including Washington Boulevard, Portmore, Mandeville and Red Hills Road. The company also has an outlet in Barbados.


Lyn hopes to employ 47 individuals for the Mandeville business, to make a total of 712 employees across the island.


Earlier this year, Island Grill introduced environmentally friendly biodegradable boxes to replace the plastic containers in which the Satisfaction and Yabba menu options are currently served.


"Although more costly and not overall popular, we moved to earth-friendly packaging and will continue to source other items of packaging that are earth-friendly," Lyn stated.


"We introduced jerk pork which is doing exceptionally well for us, and the taking out of free refills and offering up-sized Refreshaah lime-ade and mango-peach has more than doubled our beverage sales," she said.

 


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