ROJ INVESTMENT CONTINUES: COMPANY OPENS 32nd KFC RESTAURANT
On Tuesday, March 31, 2009, Restaurants of Jamaica (ROJ) – local franchise owner of KFC and Pizza Hut – opened its 32nd KFC Jamaica Restaurant, bringing to seven (7) the total number of KFC restaurants to be found in Jamaica’s largest parish, St. Catherine and thereby providing employment for an additional 51 Jamaicans.
Built at a cost in excess of J$125 million, this latest addition to the KFC family of restaurants – which is being opened a few weeks ahead of its previously-scheduled post-Easter opening – is located on East Street in Old Harbour. Its March 31 “soft” opening took the form of a stress-test event in which 200 customers from all walks of life arrived at the restaurant between 12:30pm and 1:30pm to redeem vouchers given to them by KFC. “The whole purpose of the exercise was to evaluate how ready our team members were to deal with that type of pressure, so that we can be absolutely sure of their readiness for the full-scale opening,” explained Tina Myers-Matalon, ROJ’s Marketing Manager. Such a test is critical to ensuring efficient customer service delivery, given the fact that the area has a significant population base.
The new restaurant’s 51-member employee contingent consists of 46 new recruits, while the remaining five were transferred from other KFC locations. This further enhances Restaurants of Jamaica’s reputation as one of Jamaica’s biggest employers – having in excess of 1,675 on staff in its KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants across the island.
The opening of the new facility is also one of the strongest signals that Restaurants of Jamaica could sent that, despite the vastly-changed economic climate, the company intends to follow-through on the investment plans it first announced in late 2007. Managing Director Mark Myers has disclosed that while ROJ has to proceed very carefully, given the prevailing economic conditions, “we are committed to expanding our KFC and Pizza Hut brands, with the strong emphasis continuing to be on being a top-quality quick service restaurant provider, whose products are accessible to a wide cross-section of the Jamaican population, and who has consistently provided employment opportunities for Jamaicans,” he added.
Future investment projects will involve the construction of several new KFC restaurants, as well the re-imaging of several existing ones to reflect the casual dining, contemporary KFC `face’ that the newly-modernized brand is taking on worldwide. New and/or reimaged restaurants to-date comprise Port Maria in St. Mary; Red Hills Road, Hope Road and Cross Roads in St. Andrew and South Parade in Kingston, as well as Old Harbour in St. Catherine, Ocho Rios in St. Ann, and May Pen in Clarendon. Another four (4) restaurants are also scheduled for reimaging in 2009 – two in Kingston, one in St. Catherine and one in Mandeville.
As the ROJ Managing Director explains, “we continue to see a bright future for the country and believe that this will also redound to the benefit of our organization, as we continue our investment programme. With the help of ROJ’s valued employees, we intend to take our high-quality products island-wide to an ever-expanding customer base which continues to show a marked preference for KFC’s range of products.