Now at two of four after the novel coronavirus pandemic stalled its initial plan to deliver five stores in five years, locally owned fast food operator Quick Chick restaurant is already positioning to bring to market a third location.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer following the grand opening of its new Grant's Pen Road store, Managing Director Conley Salmon said that this could be realised by as early as late 2024.
"With COVID pushing our plans behind by at least three years, our intention is hopefully have another store ready within the next 12-18 months," he told Sunday Finance.
"Most of our developments will be around the greater Kingston area which serves as a central point for the country's population. As a small business we don't want to spread our management too far and wide, so our aim is to therefore concentrate operations in a small area to allow for better efficiency," he added.
Quick Chick, which prides itself as 100 per cent Jamaican company and family-owned business, is, along with Salmon, directed by partners Oral McCook and Donald Patterson. The entity through its team of some 25 staff members aims to serve customers in an average wait time of 2.5-5 minutes.
The company back in 2019 opened its first location at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre.
Strategically pushing to have its locations at high pedestrian and trafficked areas, the latest store at Grants Pen, which also caters to drive-thru customers, Salmon said, serves as an ideal location situated in an area which has been seeing rapid commercialisation. A few months earlier and a few blocks up the road, another popular food service company, Chicken and Tings, opened its fourth outlet along the neighbouring Shortwood Road.
"I thank the directors of Quick Chick for investing in Grants Pen, their confidence shows that the area is now ready and available for investment and development. This location is going to make you rich, so if you can continue to over the next few weeks, months and years ensure that the service is delivered in the promised five minutes, then you will succeed enormously. Quick service restaurants [QSR] have been a disaster in Jamaica, I don't know why they are called QSRs, but Quick Chick, I hope, will reverse that trend. If management can ensure that the 5 minutes rule is kept, they may not only have five more outlets but a couple dozen," Member of Parliament for St Andrew North Eastern, Delroy Chuck said in his remarks at the launch event.
Salmon, responding to questions about the level of capital investment for the venture though tight-lipped about the total dollar value, said it was money well spent.
"We have completed this project with less money than we thought we could, spending millions of dollars in the process. We kept a very tight budget, even diverting from some of the stuff we would have wanted to do, choosing instead to do what we needed to do to get things moving, but we will improve the facility on cash flow generated as we go forward.
"As we move forward, we are hoping to have good returns on investment from this location. In the first three weeks we have already seen our sales skyrocket to levels which on some days exceed that of the first store and we also have our drive-thru sales exceeding that of walk-in customers which is a very good signal that what we have aimed for is being achieved," Salmon said.
The company, having this month completed payment on a loan facility procured from the EXIM Bank to fund its first project, is now looking to commence repayment for a second loan taken for its latest investment.
Patterson, while moderating the launch, signalled the opening of the second store and what is now shaping up to become a franchise brand as a positive sign for the growth of the local QSR industry.
"This is our second opening and it definitely will not be our lastâ€¦our journey has been a remarkable one and we thank God for allowing us to survive COVID and to be able to expand at this time. This drive-thru and pick-up location, along with delivery by 7Krave, has been a concept in the making for a while and we are pleased to have the store officially launched as we set out to provide 'Great taste without the wait'," he said to guest in attendance at the launch event held on Friday last in the store's parking lot amid light drizzles and tropical storm weather watch.