Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Booming Gustazos creating waves in hospitality sector

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Carlos Villares, CEO of Gustazos International, and Camila Calderon, marketing manager for Gustazos, at a press launch on May 1, 2018.

Since its explosion on the local scene in 2015, Gustazos has developed an enviable reputation for providing top deals on its e-commerce platform across various sectors.

However, according to Chief Executive Officer Carlos Villares, Gustazos has been creating waves primarily in the restaurant and tourism industries.

"We have become the number one e-commerce business in Jamaica," he said, highlighting that it has reached approximately 200,000 persons so far.

In addition, the CEO said, Gustazos has so far partnered with nearly 500 businesses, a number he believes represents the company's wide footprint in the island. Villares said as of 2017, Gustazos has secured approximately US$1 million in revenues for local businesses.

But what's the magnet in the business model pulling potential customers to Gustazos? Villares explained that based on feedback, "consumers want to try new things with the lowest possible cost ... which is what we facilitate".

He said that the marketing titan integrates with credit cards and PayPal, which allows for hassle-free transactions for consumers.

"They can pay in Jamaican dollars or US dollars; we accept both," the CEO said.


Ran into challenges


Villares told The Gleaner that the company has run into some challenges since its start-up, but they were not unique to Jamaica.

"Number one is educating businesses about the opportunities available to them on Gustazos. This involves the meetings and the back and forth. Another challenge is growing the database of people and finding good, qualified, motivated and inspired people to work," he said.

While acknowledging that the informal economy in the country was a drawback on e-commerce in general, Villares argued that there was little to no impact on the growth of Gustazos.

Looking to the future, Gustazos' management said that they wanted to develop a mobile application for facilitating greater ease of doing business, though noting that the current platform has not done all that badly.

They also said that Gustazos was seeking to grow exponentially, pointing to the boom now taking place in e-commerce in the region and the emergence of competition in the market.