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Burger King hires Rainforest as beef supplier

Published:Wednesday | April 15, 2015 | 4:01 AMTameka Gordon

Richard Lake's Restaurant Associates Limited, the owner of the Burger King franchise in Jamaica, has appointed Rainforest Seafoods as it new supplier of beef amid a fallout with former 30-year partner, Jamaica Broilers Group.

The switch in suppliers has "resulted in lower costs" for the company, Lake told Wednesday Business on Monday.

However, he declined to quantify the savings, but said the "full value of the savings in production will be passed to consumers".

Burger King last raised priced in December, which the company said was due to an 88 per cent increase in the price of beef patties used its sandwiches.

Back in January 2014, a whopper sandwich cost $550 but that priced moved to $640 by December.

Burger King now says its customers will see a price cut of up to $85 "in some instances".

In a press advertisement, the fast-food company said Rainforest Seafoods would provide "the same quality local beef patties for the products," but Lake clarified that the beef will still be imported, as suppliers to the franchise must be approved by the overseas owners. There are currently no local suppliers approved to provide beef to the fast-food chain, he said.

Burger King is now owned by 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm.

Lake also noted that the local beef industry, in its current state, could not support Burger King's beef demand.

Burger King began courting Rainforest in January and got approval to sign the company as a supplier shortly after, Lake said.

"Rainforest is buying from approved suppliers just like the previous producer," said Lake.

Meanwhile, Rainforest Seafoods CEO Brian Jardim said his company has been able to venture outside of its traditional seafood offerings and into

other proteins because of the additional capacity at its new processing plant in Kingston.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com