ENTERTAINMENT BRAND builder and restaurateur Chad Williams is spreading his wings to the Dominican Republic, DR, and simultaneously opening a new restaurant in Kingston.
The entrepreneur is capitalising on more than a decade’s worth of experience in entertainment and hospitality, to reach new areas in the Caribbean which are tourism- dependent.
Williams founded Willcom Creative in 2019, targeting hospitality and intersecting the restaurant and entertainment scenes. Under Willcom Creative, he founded The Porch and Oceano restaurants, and the Fridays.ATD event series.
The new restaurants and lounges in the DR and a new one in Kingston represent $524 million in total investment, funded by savings and private partnerships, with 25 per cent of funding from outside investors. The entrepreneur indicates that he will be opening the membership lounge ‘Republic’ in Kingston next month and has recently opened a Miami-style restaurant in the DR named Fusion Experience under the company Experience Hospitality. Project cost for the DR is $70 million, while that for Kingston is $36 million.
Fusion, in the DR, was opened in October 2022. A new location, called Deco, will open in Santiago, another city, in November. The Republic, in Kingston, will open next month.
For Deco, in Santiago, the development cost is $122 million.
Of his latest project, Williams said: “It’s going to be a modern-style lounge, but with a Caribbean art deco soul.”
The location includes an expansive 6,000-square-foot grounds, with main floor, dining, and a private room for “special experiences”.
The menu features sushi, steak, signature salads and more, Williams outlines.
Willcom Creative owns majority shares in Gastronomic Concepts and Experience Hospitality in the DR. The total number of employees is 112, with the service industry entity fielding restaurant staff, kitchen, marketing, business development, distribution, delivery, and other personnel, to support projects.
The brand builder started a decade ago by making a name for himself on the Jamaican entertainment scene, beginning his career with one-off events. Williams later transitioned to weekly events. His success led to him partnering with various restaurants, bars, and clubs to work towards building their nightlife offerings.
His history includes brand management at The Building, Quad, Devon House, Fiction, Mahogany Tree Bar, Reggae Mill Bar and Spades Lounge in Jamaica. He has also been a part of large festivals, including Unruly Fest, Weekndr, and Uber Soca Cruise.
Williams states that with his footprint now established in two Caribbean countries, he is seeking new opportunities within the region based on the continued recovery of the hospitality industry after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under pandemic conditions, few restaurants and bars could survive, shuttering their doors as they figured out how to pivot. Williams, however, was able to maintain operations at The Porch restaurant through the pandemic, while beginning construction of a new project, Oceano, a Japanese multi-sensory experience in the Courtyard, Marketplace, in Kingston.
New ventures, whether in Jamaica or the DR, ensure a multi-sensory experience for its customers.
He explains: “It’s important to create the perfect mood, using all the elements strategically to send a deliberate message, one of comfort and fun.”
All projects, he indicates, share a common DNA. They all have an in-person DJ and multi-sensory meals.
“Everything, from the platters you are served in to the science behind your drink’s mixology, is carefully curated,” he said.