Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 18th 2015 Contents JUNE 2015 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG5
Thompson spoke about expansion plans.
She estimates that the cost of a opening a new restaurant is $15 million.
"This does not include base building construction. This sum covers the
outfitting like furniture, ceilings, carpet, walls, electrical, kitchen equipment
and games. The truth is that it is 13,000 square feet that you have to outfit
and close to a 15,000-square-foot restaurant in San Fernando."
She said they plan to open two more restaurants over the next two years and
they will be bigger in size than the first store.
She added that their first year s experience "exceeded their expectations."
"Our most immediate next restaurant is San Fernando. We are opening that
in the new C3 Centre where MovieTowne in San Fernando is going. That should
be opened by the end of the year. It is going to be 15 per cent bigger in size
and 20 per cent bigger in games and seatings. We have 65 games in Chaguanas
and will have 85 in San Fernando. What they are replicating in that San Fernando
development is like a MovieTowne. So we would be in the fiesta plaza equivalent,
alongside other casual dining restaurants. The aim is that families would go
there for entertainment and have a variety of options."
She said the economy will improve and it is important for business to look
ahead and capitalise on the opportunities that exist.
"Our offerings within the competitive space is superior and I think, because
of that, the concept will continue to do well. San Fernando is booming right
now. What the US has found is a concept of resilience in a recession. Even if
you have your last $100, mothers want to put a smile on their children s face.
So they will pay for that."
Given their experience in the corporate world, Thompson and Rostant wanted
to create a new project from the ground.
"We felt we had achieved a lot but we were not getting the balance
in our lives that we wanted. We are mothers. There was the
desire to create something from the ground up, something
more entrepreneurial. A new challenge. Chuck E Cheese s for
us filled a major gap in the market for family entertainment.
"We believed as mothers of young children there were not
many options. This offering of the fun, entertainment and games
which Chuck E Cheese s provide---having seen it in the US---we
felt it was fantastic experience at an affordable price and it would
do well in T&T."
Rostant said the Chuck E Cheese s concept is very easy as cus-
tomers walk in and there is menu to choose from.
"Value meals are a package where there are drinks, meals and the
token for the children to play. There are children s meals, platters,
sandwiches, pizzas. The options are limitless so you can come and
just play and come and eat or both. We average about $100 a person.
If you come in with a family of four and spend $400 you can have
a grand time for a few hours."
She attributes their success to being able to offer a wider variety
than other restaurants in the casual dining restaurant industry.
"We have competitors that are doing some of what we do; there are
pizza chains serving pizza, there are other entertainment centres serving
entertainment with some snacks. We offer the holistic experience. The
character of Chuck E Cheese is an orphan but he celebrates life every day.
That mascot comes out in the restaurant every hour and provides a vibe
and experience that is hard to replicate."
She said the Chuck E Cheese s mascot is more well known than Mickey
Mouse worldwide and continues to grow.
"Chuck E Cheese s is now in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica
and all over the world."
Thompson believes that it is their well-trained staff and investment in
training that keeps employees happy. They do not have the major headache
of labour shortages as other businesses do.
She acknowledges there is a shortage of labour in the country. She believes
that the way business owners treat their employees has a lot to do with whether
they stay or go.
"I cannot accept the premise that Trinis are lazy and Trinis are rude and
we do not care. We brought down the Chuck E Cheese s team from the US
for training and, up to this week, they were here. A significant proportion of
the staff has been with us from the start. We are competing for employees the
same way we are competing for customers.
"In the labour market you are going to have a competitive advantage if you
treat your employees well."
'Treat your employees well'
From Page 4
PHOTOS: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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