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Island Grill to open store at New Brunswick Village today

Following a six-month delay, Island Grill Limited is set to open its 19th store in Spanish Town today.

Island Grill New Brunswick Village was originally slated to open in June 2023, but sewage works and other issues forced them to miss that deadline.

“We will have a soft opening on Sunday, December 17, 2023,” company CEO Tania Waldron Gooden told Sunday Business. “The store opens at 10 a.m.”

The NBV (net book value) location is 3,219 sq ft and features a drive-through. The company has employed 35 team members and managers and the location will be headed by restaurant manager Annmarie Campbell.

Waldron Gooden said that the total investment in the new store is approximately $169 million.

The CEO indicated that the location was selected in response to community requests.

“This opportunity to enter into a partnership with New Brunswick Village Development was a no-brainer for us. We have been in Spanish Town before, and we understand the needs of our customers in and around that area. Therefore, we felt it was time to respond to our customers who were constantly asking us to return,” Waldron Gooden shared.

“We are now able to serve them even better as, previously, we did not have a drive-through. Or, if they desire to dine in-store, there is adequate parking available. This new space allows us to provide a hassle-free experience to our customers in a state-of-the-art facility,” she added.

Island Grill ended financial year-end March 31, 2023 (which includes nine months of 2022) in full recovery mode from having its 18 stores shuttered 43 per cent of the time during COVID, and its store at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay was forced into full closure at that time.

Revenues saw a 43 per cent drop but the company received concessions from landlords and external stakeholders. At financial year-end 2023, the management said that recovery exceeded the 43 per cent pandemic closure figure.

Plans for another store in White River, St Ann are undergoing planning approval. There are also other locations under consideration.

At the time of her appointment in May, Waldron Gooden said that managing costs while increasing revenues was the biggest challenge.

“External cost factors such as increasing interest rates and FX fluctuations will continue to increase pressure on administrative and direct costs,” she outlined.

Opening more stores is an opportunity to scale, the management has indicated.

“We’re in a business that is high volume, low margin … but will “not sacrifice service nor quality,” Company Chairman and former CEO Thalia Lyn shared earlier this year.

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