No deal in sight for Burger King

After more than a year of pleading with the Freundel Stuart-led administration for an ease in import duties, fast food chain Burger King seems no closer to getting a deal.

What is more, Burger King Director Everick Eastmond said that after five years of operation, government taxes are hampering the company’s chances of being more successful.

“It has not been a very smooth journey because some of the things that we wanted to have done by this stage, there were a lot of hurdles in our way,” said Eastmond, without going into detail.

“As you know we would have had challenges with import duties and all of these things,” he told the small gathering at the company’s five-year anniversary ceremony at the SkyMall, Haggatt Hall location this afternoon.

“We are really happy to be able to give to those who have stuck with us through this time and hopefully will stick with us and grow with us. The essential thing is growing with us. As I say, the challenges are still there. We would have liked to have been more successful so that you too can see it better in your pay packets. One of the things we have been fighting for, for some time, is for the powers that be to recognize that we are not a retail establishment,” said Eastmond.

Burger King employee of five years Kerrie Sattaur-Wilkinson

The company has long been appealing to government to lower the whopper of a tax burden imposed on it almost a year-and-a-half ago.

It was at the beginning of September 2016 that the duties on some Burger King processed chicken products, including the famous chicken breast, patties and nuggets, which local producers could not supply, rose from 20 per cent to 102 per cent.

However, despite sourcing more of its products locally and increased calls from Burger King operators since then, Government has not budged.

Today Eastmond expressed confidence that the company would overcome those challenges, but insisted that the taxes be lowered since most of the products used in its operations are now sourced locally, while hinting that the company would like to make further investments in the local economy.

He said that if taxes were lower the company could have done more in the area of employment, as he recalled that a major reason for opening the fast food chain five years ago in Barbados was to help create job opportunities.

“When we first started we would have imported almost 95 per cent of everything, because we had to get it right the first time. But over time, I can tell you now, that majority of what we use in Barbados comes from indigenous business people and indigenous services.

However, he said while he understood why government would want to protect the local producers Burger King now “actually add about 65 per cent in value to whatever it is we bring in, which is a long cry from when we first started, and I think it is time we actually look to be separated form the retail crowd.

“So what burger king was five years ago is still on the outside, but a lot of the inputs come from indigenous labour and local suppliers,” insisted Eastmond.

He added that he was hoping “to get more people on board to supply the goods and services to really give Burger King a reflection of what Barbados is”. Eastmond also hinted at having some local delicacies added to the menu.

The company currently boasts six restaurants, hiring just over 150 people.

Lauding the staff for their commitment and contribution over the years, General Manager Ryan Walters urged them to keep up the good work and “continue to sail on strong enterprising and team spirit, taking on new challenges and exploring new opportunities along the way” as Burger King embarks on “big goals ahead”.

He suggested that a lot of people were skeptical about the company’s longevity in Barbados.

“More than six years ago Mr [Ralph Bizzy] Williams and the board of directors visualized the operation of Burger King restaurants in Barbados. I am proud to say we are here five years on, and I dare say, to the surprise of many,” said Walters.

“Though not an easy feat, over the five years we have built up a reputation as the leading QSRs (quick service restaurants] and fastest growing QSR in the market,” he added.

During the award ceremony, which took place immediately after a special church service at the St Barnabas Anglican Church, 25 of the staff members were awarded for being with the company since its inception here.

Burger King employee of five years Shana Roberts

31 Responses to No deal in sight for Burger King

  1. Eugene Lavine
    Eugene Lavine January 21, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Sell sandals some shares.

  2. Saga Boy January 21, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Interesting, you have not gotten the duty free concession but yah still expanding and making profits. The outlet in Blackrock is however a little tacky.

  3. Jennifer January 21, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Then you will hear THEM talk about how burdensome this people are on the system, while them milk and bank.

  4. Michael Crichlow
    Michael Crichlow January 21, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    What have Barbados learn from the McDonald’s franchise

  5. Donild Trimp January 21, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Anyone here remembers the St.Lawrence Gap Wendy’s franchise?

    That was years ago. They did not get the concessions they wanted either.

    At the time I said good riddance, take your low wages jobs somewhere else.

    • Committed Bajan January 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      I so agree with you
      Why should we be settling for low wage jobs and giving concessions to keep them?
      There are many recipients of tax payer degrees who can’t get a half decent job

  6. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore January 21, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    The destruction of a Barbadian owned franchise by withholding of a tax break while granting 100% tax-free concessions to a Jamaican owned business.

  7. Alex Alleyne January 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    “The famous chicken breast , patties and nuggets which local producers could not supply”. (MORE SOUND LIKE THE PRICE TO ME).
    Maybe this is why the LOCAL producers in turn soaked the consumer. Could never understand why a locally grown chicken cost so much.

    • Mark My Word January 22, 2018 at 9:29 am

      @ Alex Alleyne a bag of chicken feed is $42 – $45, veterinary medicine expensive, expensive, water bill high, Electricity high, wages high, building material high
      And you can’t understand why locally grown chicken cost so much, where you went school.

  8. Belfast January 22, 2018 at 12:00 am

    And we wonder why Bajans have turned their back on food-producing agriculture. Fast Foods and Tinned foods from T&T.
    With the introduction of Sam’s in Barbados, it would not be long now before we see the same lady going into the fast food business.

  9. hcalndre January 22, 2018 at 12:48 am

    When a local person have a franchise such as Burger King or Subway they have to keep the name of the company up to the standard and not Barbados standards, when some one purchases a burger and fries there should be no difference from the one you get in the US, the specs should be the same but what the government is doing to the locals by putting 102% on the imports are driving these people out of business but can give Sandals concessions for life. I saw an ad where a burger, well dressed, fries and a soda cost US 3:50 which is 7 B`dos dollars, I wonder what that order in Barbados would cost a poor kid? What profits can these locals make to pay these young people a half decent salary when this government only know to tax, tax, tax and telling the people that they don`t have any money.

  10. Saga Boy January 22, 2018 at 2:54 am

    It is simple logic, Sandals brings in much needed foreign currencies. What do franchises bring beside unhealthy food; fat men, women, children and a host of non communicable diseases. You can’t compare the contribution of a franchise which uses foreign currencies to a hotel that earns it. In addition the average wages in the hotel sector is higher than at the franchises which pays minimum wages. Chefette, a local fast food outlet employs more than 3/4 of their staff for less than 40 hours a week. Yet the BWU does nothing. Instead they along with the NUPW want to bankrupt GOV. Makes sense supporting Sandals before a fast food franchise.

    • hcalndre January 22, 2018 at 8:42 am

      @Saga Boy; What can the BWU and the NUPW do about it? are the jobs Unionized? Barbados is not Union friendly and I`m of the opinion that you fits into to that category. Work places in Barbados have less than 40% of the workers who are members, it should be mandatory that to work where there is a Union everyone would have to be a member or you don’t work, that`s when the Unions would have strength. Have you seen any of the foreign currency? Speaking of unhealthy foods and obesity, Barbados is in the top 3 of the world in obesity, is any of the Franchises responsible? I will say no, so point out to me why is that, Saga. How can these Franchises pay a half decent salary when they have to pay 102% on imports and a multi million dollar entity pays nothing. I will never understand the bajan way of thinking.

      • Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 8:57 am

        “multi million dollar entity pays nothing”. you are correct but what is the difference to a CORPORATE GROUP and SUBSIDIARIES???

  11. Jus me January 22, 2018 at 7:50 am

    @Saga boy

    Yuh head ent here man.
    Sandals bring in zero.
    Mr Butch Cassidy en he side kick
    The Sleepy Kid done mek sure dat is so.

    • Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 8:22 am

      OK. This just like cutting off a foot to get back a toe.

  12. seagul January 22, 2018 at 8:08 am

    More fast food more fast cars. Heavy duty traffic and more collisions on our tiny streets. Politicians remain silent and fat from back-room deals. On the ground from the perspective of what I’m able to see. Looking into my crystal ball I see more accidents, amputations, obesity, lung cancer and the list goes on. It’s time for us to produce and consume sensibly if we want to live– greenhouse agri. ,…. Freedom in the Caribbean is the freedom to be taken advantage of by government-supported plantation type hotels and franchises. Freedom to be jobless and destitute, and un-represented by the corporate wolves called politicians. Many of the people hold the mainstream politicians in contempt but not enough…the majority of these agents are looting the pockets of the masses in parliamentary expenses..…. This reality as it is only leads to violence on the rise…time to wake up!

    • Jennifer January 22, 2018 at 8:24 am

      51yrs on.

    • Tee White January 22, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      @seagull true words

  13. DE January 22, 2018 at 8:29 am

    @Saga Boy you made sense in your first publication but you seem to have stray away and got lost in your second publication.
    Sandals have trick this government because we have all beggar running this country.
    What foreign currency does Sandals bring to this country. Just like all the other that you have mention, Sandals want you to kill yourself on the job and pay low wages and salaries. You never work there.
    All their bookings are done on line, where is that money going. They do a lot of imports, where is that money going. The tourist are not spending locally, what are we getting. Saga Boy, I can go on and on and on. I said to you before, sometimes you make some good contributions but when it comes to the present government, your brain gets clog up.

  14. Jerry January 22, 2018 at 8:39 am

    It appears from all of the somewhat nasty comments that Bajans are scared, angry, frustrated and with very good reason but why take it out on the people or Business who are trying to help us. Investing in the Restaurant Business is statiscally high risk as most fail within 5 years. Also previously Barbados has been considered by Hotel Consulting Companies as one of the worst places in the World to invest in the Hotel Business because of high input costs, high construction costs, Beaucratic delays , poor airlift and low occupancy . Until Sandals invested soon to be 1 Billion US Dollare with Beaches thanks to Concessions they increased the airlift for everyone, they increased the occupancy levels for everyone, the created construction and permanent jobs for everyone. They also put Barbados on the map with their enormous advertising budget. We need 10 more Sandals to maintain our social programs and avoid devaluation of our overvalued currency. Probably the only good decision this Government made .Certainly giving way the Hilton is not one

  15. Richard Johnston January 22, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Burger King is hardly a national treasure.

  16. hcalndre January 22, 2018 at 9:04 am

    @Jerry; are these 10 more sandals, 5 pairs of foot wear that you are speaking of? only persons that probably benefitted from the concessions are who gave them to Sandals. Imagine Sandals can bring in all that they want free and a poor local person have to pay 102% on what is necessary to be on par with the owners of the Franchise, that’s why the price of the product is almost out of reach and is nothing to compare with what it should be.

  17. Sheron Inniss January 22, 2018 at 9:31 am

    A fly told me the average worker at Sandals don’t get a salary to shout about and the turnover rate of employees is high. Now why is that?

    As to Burger King, hmmmmm. Precious foreign reserves wasted on what we don’t really need. Unhealthy fast food that leading to more dis-ease in Bim and the ripple effect a hospital that is overburdened and limping; ’cause that too is sick.

  18. F.A.Rudder January 22, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    It’s good to have Burger King aboard. Our local farmers are now in a position to produce grade A produce which has high demand in the resturant chain. Supply is the key issue and that is on a daily basis.

  19. Sonia Seale
    Sonia Seale January 22, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Get Sandals to do the negotiating, The results may be different. Or better yet sell the majority shares to Sandals.

  20. milli watt January 22, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    no a cent fuh you lot

  21. Alex Alleyne January 22, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    @MarkMyWord, You forgot, I SAT NEXT TO YOU.

  22. Tammy Taitt
    Tammy Taitt January 22, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Let’s see if they make it to the summer.

  23. Sherlene Phillips
    Sherlene Phillips January 23, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Stupse…No deal…no deal….Any duty free concessions give it to de poor man to empower him…Not people selling unhealthy foids that link with heart attack, diabetes and stroke…stupse

  24. archy perch January 23, 2018 at 2:28 am

    I agree with you Sherlene Phillips. The Williams group greedy. Like Walmart, they soon start selling coffins. They selling fast foods……


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