Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Tastee partners with Robinson in eastward expansion

Published:Wednesday | June 14, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
A Tastee location in Kingston. The patty maker has opened its 51st store under a partnership with franchise holder Kimani Robinson.

Patty maker Tastee Limited opened it 51st store to the east of the island in Port Antonio, Portland, last Friday, under agreement with a franchise partner.

Chief Executive Officer Ryan Foster said the new store was "a multimillion-dollar investment and capital outlay" that would employ 15, but did not disclose the investment.

It's to be operated by Kimani Robinson through his company 3 Sixty Restaurant Franchise Group.

The store replaces a mobile patty selling operation in the town. It will operate from leased space that was "retrofitted to meet our Tastee standards," Foster told Gleaner Business.

Robinson has been a Tastee franchise holder for more than three years. He said his partnership with the patty company was a mixture of "luck and opportunity", saying the brand was well known but not present in the east when he decided to invest.

Over a period of three and a half years he has opened four stores, with High Street, Port Antonio being the fifth and what he describes as a flagship location.

"Tastee has an amazing brand, a trusted brand and the product is simply amazing," he said. "They have a very family oriented type of structure, a relatable warm type of company."

It was his "luck", he said, "that this side of the island is not infiltrated as yet."

Robinson is invested in a number of businesses, including Inspire Media, which operates a cable channel that beams into homes and hotel rooms, and streams on the Internet.

He said his 3 Sixty Holdings also has investments in tourist guest operations in Portland.

3 Sixty Restaurant wants to grow to seven restaurants in total in the parishes of Portland, St Marty and St Ann. For the two other stores planned, the specific locations were undisclosed, but he said they would all be in the northeastern parishes.

Tastee, a maker of both patties and pastries, which has diversified into cooked breakfast and lunch choices, operates as a retailer of the products it makes.

Foster disclosed that plans for the current financial year to drive revenue include the addition of a new Brew'd Awakening cafe), another retail store, and expansion of its pastry line.



"We will continue to expand our brand within the Jamaican landscape once we see the feasibility of such capital outlay. We are seeking to expand our product line in new markets as well as try to grow within our existing space," he told Gleaner Business.

Foster said Tastee has is currently double-digit growth, and expects that trajectory to continue.

Profitability, for the private company, he said, is driven primarily by the company's consistency.

"We are consistent in the quality of our product, in managing our cost, in expanding the availability of our products and being innovative in how we offer our products to our Jamaican people," he said.

The CEO also noted that Tastee's export markets have grown by 25 per cent year over year, driven by a new product.

"Since the introduction of our jerk chicken patty, our customers have really welcomed this new addition to our export line. We are now exploring to expand the list of products that we export as well as the markets that we export to," he said.


CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct Ryan Foster's title to chief executive officer of Tastee. He was incorrectly identified as the chief financial officer.