Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes Chefette’s decision to expand its manufacturing arm and diversify its brand to include an entertainment centre is an expression of confidence in the future of this country and the management of its affairs.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view on Tuesday afternoon as she addressed the symbolic Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Chefette Group’s Ice Cream and Meat Processing Manufacturing Plants at Lears, St. Michael.
The formal construction phase of the project, which includes two large buildings, will begin this month and they are expected to be completed by summer 2021.
The Ice Cream Manufacturing Plant will produce Frosteez, Chefette’s local brand of ice cream which will be made to the highest international standards. The second building will be the meat plant and additional corporate offices with a modern training facility.
The Prime Minister told her audience: “We know that having stabilized this economy; the only way out is through growth. And, for those who ask for concrete investment analysis, I say simply to them, count the projects one by one… I look forward to being able to participate in a number of similar activities over the course of the next few months.”
She said companies that were staying the course and transitioning from generation to generation should be celebrated. Barbados, she continued, was not short on businesses, but on those which endured.
She noted that Chefette Restaurant would be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and it must now move to the next level.
“When Chefette finishes building this Ice Cream Manufacturing Plant and the Meat Processing Manufacturing Plant, it must be the first choice for cruise ships which want to purchase produce to be able to service their passengers, especially those that home port out of Barbados.
“It must be the first choice even for our friends in the rest of the Caribbean because of the quality and the price point…with respect to the purchase of the product. And, the fact that you are building out the specs such that you can achieve all of the international certification is at the essence of what we mean by being world-class and being competitive,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley again raised the issue of Chefette operating outside of Barbados. She proffered the view that part of being a successful global brand, meant the product offering should reflect items grown in those lands.
She said she would like to see the indigenizing of products as a permanent feature on the company’s menu.
Chefette’s Managing Director, Ryan Haloute, said on completion of the project at Lears, the corporate offices would be relocated from Wildey and the meat plant from Fontabelle.
He added that the Frosteez Ice Cream would be sold on the local and regional market, thus earning foreign exchange for the country.
Mr. Haloute disclosed that Chefette would also be embarking on its single largest investment project to date when it breaks ground before the end of February, at Newton, Christ Church, on an 80,000 sq. ft. Family Entertainment Centre. There will be a Chefette Restaurant, Drive-Thru, Ice Cream Parlour, BBQ Barn and a double mega three-storey playground.
The Managing Director continued: “These two large projects show our commitment to…our country; to investing in the people…. Our staff employment will go from 850…and we will be adding 350 permanent jobs. During the construction phase, there will be 150 jobs…over the three years.”
He described the massive expansion of the manufacturing arm and push to export to the region as a step towards one day taking the Chefette brand beyond the shores of Barbados.