Economic Crunch

Operators of small restaurants in Barbados may have to resort to selling their products out of vehicles if the economic downturn continues indefinitely.

That grim warning has been issued by Managing Director of Pizza Man Doc, Gray “Doc” Brome, following the closure of some restaurants on Baxters Road, the City, and the slowdown in business at one popular restaurant at the same location.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Brome said he had grave concerns about the dramatic decline in business over the past seven years.

Managing Director of Pizza Man Doc, Gray “Doc” Brome
Managing Director of Pizza Man Doc, Gray “Doc” Brome

“Selling your product out of a mobile van may be the safest way out of this harsh economic situation, but it is an area (that has) strict government regulations,” he said.

“Even when you adhere to strict business practices, businesses are still failing. I recall that in the recent past a business that is located close to my outlet on Baxters Road was attracting a large number of customers, but this has changed over the past two to three years,” he added.

“When you have to pay $6,000 per month for a few square feet, then you have to pay for water, electricity, gas, wages, pay VAT and National Insurance contributions, there is nothing left for the business owner. The owner has to be constantly borrowing money to keep the business going. Then, in addition to these financial challenges, you have situations where workers report sick almost everyday.

“When a worker reports sick then it takes two to three workers to serve the purpose of one. It becomes a tremendous financial burden, but if you are vending it only takes one or two persons to fulfil your labour requirements.”

He said overheads were crippling small businesses in Barbados.

“Government seems to be working diligently to ensure there is no further deterioration in the business sector [but] small restaurants are just propping up a few major wholesalers. A small business cannot survive on that basis.”

Brome, who established his first pizza outlet in St Peter in the 1980s, pointed out that some restaurants were not even able to make a bank deposit from the daily takings, and use the funds to replenish the company’s stock.

“It is extremely difficult in the current economic environment. Unless a number of us buy stock in bulk to cut costs we are doomed. The commercial banking sector will have to place a little more confidence in the sector if we are to ease ourselves out of this financial bind. The situation that confronts the sector can only be termed a crippling,” Brome contended.

Referring to the recent closure of a popular restaurant on the south coast of the island, Brome said: “I do not believe that the owner of the outlet on the south coast was spreading untruths when he said he was unable to pay the severed workers their severance pay. Neither do I believe he took the money and squandered it. I do not know the man, but I know I do not live lavishly, yet finance remains a major challenge to my business. People who live in close proximity to my outlet on Baxters Road do not have the disposable income to patronize the business on a regular basis. I can also tell you that people have resorted to begging today because they cannot do any better.”

Brome pointed out that if “push comes to shove”, he would return to selling products from out of a mobile van.

Recently, he closed some of his outlets in the Satjay Bridgetown Centre, the City and St Lawrence, Christ Church; however, he has since re-employed some of the workers in other outlets.


13 Responses to Economic Crunch

  1. Randy Hartman
    Randy Hartman July 2, 2014 at 6:47 am

    sad.. seems this administration and it’s supporters are bent on destruction of the middle class and ‘rich’.. it’s like i cant have x or y then nobody should.. they prefer to watch all local businesses go to the gutter and have all overseas franchises.. with great satisfaction in their nasty little hearts.. cause i definitely can’t see anyone else gaining from this mess

  2. Dogface Jones July 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Look Pizza Man Doc. You have had your days. Stop blaming harsh economic times.. You need to improve your product.. Dont you know there are several better quality slices for cheaper or the same price as your greasy, oily, sometimes stale product.. You have not changed anything in all your years not even your hairstyle.. This is almost 5 years i have stopped patronizing your establishment.. U need a big revamp.. Focus on fresh and better quality ingredients.. I grew up on your pizza from the time you started in ashton hall.. And the last time i had it it was a waaaaayyyyy far cry from that 8″ inch pizza on the Styrofoam plate.. Do you know other places make every slice to order, they dont really have slices wrapped in a warmer drying out and turning the cheese to oil.. Then when u have that slice on a warmer for all those hours unsold then someone buys that it tastes like vomit.. then that is money wasted for the customer and i am sure that is a cost for unsold slices..
    Little changes you can make like changing the cheese.. Making slices to order, better and fresher meat and veg..

  3. Beverley St John
    Beverley St John July 2, 2014 at 7:10 am

    AND to think at this rate, there’s still 3 more years of it! It’s maddening that there’s no turnaround or even a glimmer of hope in sight! Simply ineptitude in it’s finest hour!

  4. Ernestine Cleare
    Ernestine Cleare July 2, 2014 at 7:23 am

    It seems the government’s of the caribbean have the same motive, many small businesses in the Bahamas are experiencing the same fate. There has to be an end to this madness!

  5. Chris Kinkaid
    Chris Kinkaid July 2, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Ohhhhh so it has nothing to do with the fact that Grey Broomes aka Pizza Man Doc never sought to improve his product and customer service in order to achieve greater market share??
    I wonder how many of you were clients of his business.

  6. Martyn Ackee Tree
    Martyn Ackee Tree July 2, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Very true spoken words. Not to mention some very unfair practices going on with large operators and wholesales.

  7. Joi M. Joaquin
    Joi M. Joaquin July 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Wow …. so sad …

  8. Keinelle Ward
    Keinelle Ward July 2, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Doc was up and running fa years I was a fan but as time went I grew away from his product nothing exciting r new to the table

  9. Rickie Nurse July 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    When your operation overhead is way greater than intake of income, that is the perfect recipe’ for bankruptcy, foreclosure, economic downturn, etc.

    What Small Businesses like Pizza-Man-doc are experiencing is the result of the high import bill this country has, that is complicated further by a extremely low foreign exchange intake.

    Why is that? to do business in Barbados is very risky at this time when foreign investors cannot find any confidence in the economic structure of the country.

    The reason being, POOR governmental management of our fiscal deficit. The over taxation of the offshore sectors that were here was a major component in most of them closing their businesses here and going to other territories where it is easier for them to operate.

    Our major foreign exchange earner tourism is stagnant to the point of dying and the government don’t have any clues or ideas how to revive it.

    Manufacturing exports are zero and our one resource left (OUR PEOPLE) are slowly leaving looking for greener pastures.

    Honestly! this government has to take the blame for our state of affairs and the condition that we are in, NO ONE ELSE.

  10. Gregory Drakes
    Gregory Drakes July 2, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I bought a minced meat sandwich from Pizza Man Doc Sheraton the other day. It tasted really good. Why doesn’t Doc start a marketing campaign advertising all the different products the restaurant has to offer? There’s clearly more to it than just pizza.

  11. Frank Bongolights Chase
    Frank Bongolights Chase July 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    This government is managing this island bad and the whole world knows it, i run a business and know that some days u wonder whats going on, hardly any customers, the government over taxing and more tax on the people, watch out something gonna happen and the government going to be in real shit, all yesterday a business man i know had to went and plead to light an power to give he another day, an how these guys come to turn off its like without mercy, i tell JAH send a Earthquake soon and kill those who have no mercy, when people was paying and making the rich richer it was ok, now no mercy, JAH BRING IT ON, A EARTHQUAKE CAUSE BAJANS DONT REBEL, AN THE KILLING THEM IWTH ECONOMICAL SLAVERY, THE HOUSE OF SLAVES IN PARLIAMENT, SHAKE THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT JAH JAH, FIRE PUN BABYLON SYSTEM.

  12. Alexandra Ricci Phillips
    Alexandra Ricci Phillips July 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Oh wow

  13. Olutoye Walrond July 3, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Oh how sad that some of us think you can only offer criticism if you put someone down and grind them into the earth.


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