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Rebranded Goddard going after more of Jamaica’s events market

Published:Monday | July 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
A wedding gazebo ready for the offcial ceremony. Jamaica's growing wedding market has served as a source of business growth for events companies.

Goddard Catering Group, now rebranded GCG Group, sees opportunity in the events market in Jamaica in which it aims to claim the "premier" spot as caterer of choice and is positioning for growth next year.

The company, whose Jamaican subsidiary operates from the grounds of the Norman Manley International and Sangster International airports, says that its local expansion into the events catering market six years ago has proven fruitful, and it is now building out alliances with others in the market to grow the operation.

GCG Group itself operates three brands GCG Events, GCG Catering and GCG Ground in multiple markets across the region.

The catering and events outfit is a member of Goddard Enterprises Limited, a conglomerate based in Barbados whose business lines span airline, industrial and restaurant catering, ground-handling services, various manufacturing categories, automobile and automotive parts sales, brokerage services, and investments.

Explaining the rebranding push for Goddard, GCG Jamaica's Marketing Executive & Events Coordinator Cheridah Douglas said it is meant to recast the catering company as a regional operation.

"Today, GCG Group has 24 locations across the Caribbean and Latin America. Over the last six decades, the company has evolved to best meet the needs of its clients across the region. Stepping out of the notion that the company is based only in Barbados, GCG Group is a much shortened way of representing the large group of companies without placing emphasis on, but not excluding, the family legacy," said Douglas.

The new name "is less long-winded and still represents all aspects of the business," she added.

The rebranding also includes new logos, coloured-themed orange for GCG Events, blue for GCG Catering, and green for GCG Ground.

Inside Jamaica, Goddard is best known for its airport catering and handling services. But with the explosion of the wedding market in recent years, and standard fare from big calendar events staged throughout the year, Douglas says that GCG Events sees an opportunity not only to grow business within the space, but was not prepared to say how much of the market it currently holds, nor the income it derives from it.

It is not the only company looking to cash in. Just last year, one of the top names in the events business, Main Event Entertainment Group, launched a new division called M-Style specifically to claim market share in the wedding industry. Based on anecdotal information, Tai Flora Services is currently the top player in Jamaica's wedding market, and is one of the partners, along with Main Event, that GCG Jamaica aims to work with in its quest for growth.

As to the size of the events-promotions market, that information is unknown. But it is likely to be a multibillion-dollar market, based on Main Event's revenue alone, which tops $1.1 billion annually.

In the regional operations of GCG Group, 75 per cent of revenue is derived from its airport catering operation, while 25 per cent is split among the concessions, events, and terminal shops, said Douglas.

At year ending September 2017, Goddard's catering and airport services contributed BDS$259 million to group revenue of BDS$748 million and was the second largest contributor to pretax profit, BDS$20 million of BDS$74 million for Goddard Enterprises. One Barbados dollar is worth about $67 in Jamaican currency.

Catering and airport services is also the top employer in the conglomerate, accounting for over 3,000 of the 5,100 regional workforce.

In Jamaica, Douglas says, GCG is "now focused on 2019 growth, seeking to forge new partnerships with premium decor and venue partners".

GCG Jamaica already has a track record catering for various events for government entities, carnival, large and small weddings, and sporting and awards functions, she said, but is also now working closely with various operators, "such as Tai Flora, Chukka Group, Taylor'd Events, Blaktie Entertainment, Main Event, and Pop Up Gourmet, to mention a few, ensuring our clients receive outstanding service from conception to execution".

GCG Events Jamaica, which was launched in December 2012 and has the capacity to handle crowds of up to 2,000, is on a mission to "become the premier catering company".

The service does not target hotels for business. instead, its strategy is "to partner with venues that do not offer their own catering packages or allow external caterers", Douglas said.