By Tammy Jo Anderson Taft
Frank Kenney, president and co-owner of Jamaican Grill, is working to bring the local restaurant chain onto the global scene.
“Our first goal was to operate one restaurant and do it well. We wanted to run a restaurant with operation excellence and have a product the community would be receptive to,” he says.
That was 20 years ago. Now, the successful restaurant chain has three locations and in the past five years has started meeting with potential franchise candidates. So far, the company has met with three potential candidates from the Philippines, but none has signed franchise agreements yet.
“The core product we offer on our menu has wide market appeal,” Kenney explained. “That makes it good for franchising. The economics of our business model are also at or above industry standards. This makes the return on investment for potential franchisees attractive.”
But getting a business ready to franchise is not simply about writing a franchise agreement. Kenney hired a franchise consultant out of the states who did an analysis of the company’s business model.
“We worked with him over a year’s timeframe, and he helped us to document our business model in terms of plate specifications, standardized recipes, training programs, and he schooled us in the world of franchises and franchisee relations,” Kenney says.
That world of relationships is “completely different than owning and operating a restaurant,” he says. “Once you franchise, you are basically authorizing another entity to operate your business in another location.”
Although it has not worked out yet, Kenney is hopeful Jamaican Grill will spread its wings beyond Guam’s shores soon.
We are very interested in the Philippines, Hawaii or any other Asian market that is a plane ride away,” he says. “Guam, being a regional tourist attraction, has a tourist market that comes from sizable markets. We know how our business model runs and operates in the small market of Guam, but we would be excited to see how this business model can be adapted for a main metropolitan area.”
Maybe, with the right partnership, they will get their chance.