The Deli Spot Limited, located on South Street in Old Harbour, St Catherine, is run by owners Tamara Campbell, who is the managing director, and Roan Campbell, director. With their offering of daily delicacies, the couple is seeking to delight residents in the rapidly growing St Catherine locale with variety and meals that satisfy hunger.
Tamara Campbell shared with the Jamaica Observer, "According to the St Catherine LSDP plan, Old Harbour's population is one of the fastest growing in Jamaica."
The Deli Spot was opened by the Campbells four years ago, when, on moving to live in the town, they discovered that there were limited eating options. As such the desire to create a deli that offered sandwiches, wraps and shakes was borne. The restaurant now employs five individuals and the venture has qualified for the Jamaica Business Development Corporations's Accelerator programme.
Tamara Campbell told Sunday Finance, "This is my first registered business, but I have always participated in entrepreneurial activities. One of my mentors at The University of the West Indies [UWI] told us one day that, POOR means passing over opportunities regularly. Since that lecture, I have always looked for opportunities to make money or looking for areas to offer a service."
The company's goal is described as providing "cuisine comfort, freshly prepared customisable food". Included are sandwich and wraps (rotisserie, turkey ham, crispy chicken, Philly cheese steak et al); Shakes (Bulldozer, protein shake, FruitSensation, peanut punch); pizzas (Hawaiian, BBQ chicken, pepperoni, ultimate cheese et al); taco Tuesday (Beef and Chicken taco), wing it Wednesdays (garlic Parmesan, original, honey mustard, spicy BBQ wings) and every day chicken and fries, and chicken and waffles, original and barbecue.
They identify customer favourites as pizzas and tacos, sandwiches, shakes and chicken.
Tamara Campbell said, "Because consumers are seeking menu options that are tasty and unique; they also seek options that are healthy and fresh which offer them the ability to customise to their taste."
As the Campbells strategise for growth, their target market are mothers aged 26 to 48 years old who are considered to be customers seeking convenience and prompt service. Another segment is described as "sophisticated professionals" who are customers seeking unique/non-traditional and customisable food options.
The Deli Spot is also targeting health-conscious individuals aged 45-60, who are customers seeking healthier alternatives and all students in general.
The Campbells believe that their competitive advantage lies in being first to market, as they were the first company to offer such menu offerings to the residents of Old Harbour. The Deli Spot also delivers a unique product, as menu offerings "can be customised, everything is fresh, and customers experience a taste of the world through food".
Another advantage is considered to be the restaurant's premier location, being located on the main exit from Old Harbour to Highway 2000 on South Street.
The Campbells share challenges experienced in setting up and running this business as including an early, insufficient knowledge in business operations which was soon remedied. There was also inadequate funding. The managing director explained, "As an entrepreneur, having insufficient funds for working capital and to service start-up debt were challenges as we sought to advertise our arrival as a new place to eat. There were also challenges in human resource management and practices; challenges in having a proper inventory management system and point of sale systems."
Tamara Campbell shared, "A major challenge when we were only two years old was COVID and governmental restrictions implemented to combat the spread. As an entrepreneur, to survive COVID and the restricted spending power of residence, we pivoted [We started the business as a health option store] and started to open menu options to include fried chicken and fries. By pivoting, we avoided closing business even though we were still trying to recover from COVID survival debts."
The couple have also learned to restructure and segment business operations over time. "Over the years, through knowledge, proper time management and purchasing of certain software, created a better management flow."
What remains a challenge is sourcing capital, with the couple explaining, "Our business financials for the last two years have not been conducive to receival of business loans."
Total investment in the Deli Spot to date is between 10 and 12 million dollars and the company is yet to break even, as it is still recovering from COVID. The good news is that sales have steadily increased since the reduction of COVID restrictions.
The Campbells said, "Our financials indicate that we are still not operating on a profit; however, projections indicate that within the next financial quarter we should be operating with a profit turnaround."
Going forward, strategies to improve market penetration and operations include various advertising efforts; streamlining processes to be more efficient in cutting operational costs; improving customer relations management; creating a customer loyalty programme; and creating an online ordering platform. The Deli Spot will also add a meal delivery mechanism.
To date, funding sources include a bank loan, government funding schemes, grants, family and friends.
The managing director noted, "A Forbes article estimated in 2017 that Jamaica quick-service/fast food restaurant was worth about US$700 million.
"I am uncertain of the break out of this value for Old Harbour Town; however, the massive growth in population growth is an indication that the market value has increased. Our medium-term growth plan is to get at least 30 per cent market share."