KFC awaits new town centre before going to St Thomas
Mark Myers, the managing director of Restaurant of Jamaica (ROJ), operators of KFC, says the company is awaiting the creation of a new town centre in Morant Bay, St Thomas, before venturing into the eastern parish.
Hanover and St Thomas are the only parishes without KFC restaurants.
Myers said that when ROJ did the analysis some time ago, the business case was not good.
“We didn’t believe that St Thomas, from an urbanisation perspective, or even from the standpoint of a concentration of consumers, was at the point as yet,” Myers said.
He said that a lot has changed since then, especially in light of the planned new town centre for Morant Bay.
“We believe St Thomas is coming of age and in our estimation, that will create a destination that will bring the residents together, and as such, that will make for a viable business proposition,” Myers said.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced the establishment of a new town centre for the St Thomas capital, Morant Bay. He said the Government intends to transform the 25-acre property that previously housed the Goodyear tyre factory into a modern-day township.
A one-stop integrated industrial and commercial complex, encompassing 365,000 square feet of space that will facilitate entities and amenities providing improved delivery of key public- and private-sector services, as been proposed for the site.
Myers is hopeful that a KFC restaurant will be among the businesses in that new town centre. Asked what will happen if the project falls through, Myers said there are some opportunities that ROJ is trying to investigate in the existing town centre.
“But as you can imagine with many of these towns, there is a space constraint and the undeveloped spaces that are there, the owners are often not interested in doing anything with it,” Myers lamented as he again rested hope on the new town centre.
“We’re hoping that the Goodyear project comes to fruition, but, if not, we will have to go for a plan B,” Myers said.