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Wisynco Foods positions to grab market share

Published:Friday | March 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM
An array of Wendy's menu items.

Dionne Rose, Business Reporter

Wisynco Group Limited is expanding its Wendy's hamburger shop and Domino's Pizza franchises to the Fair-view commercial complex in Montego Bay, creating 45 jobs in the process.

The company has signalled that more stores are on the way, with their roll-out pending finalisation of operating space.

The Wendy's store will open this weekend, increasing the chain to four, but Domino's' MoBay start-up is still three months away in June, growing the stores to eight.

William Mahfood, managing director of Wisynco, said the two stores represent a US$1.5-million (J$135 million).

Steve Lim, managing director of Wisynco Foods Limited, said the expansion is expected to create 30 jobs at the 3,000-square foot Wendy's store, and 15 at the 1,500- square foot Domino's.

"A lot of people feel that recession is the time when you must cut back and pull back but we are looking at better ways to serve consumers and reach consumers with some of the brands we manage in ways that other companies are not looking at," he said.

Mahfood described the expansion as a sort of pre-positioning to grab market share once the economy begins to revive and spending power returns.

"We won't be in a recession forever, so while we expand and open new stores, when the recession ends or when things turn around and the economy is looking a bit brighter, we will be there to capture that increased demand with more consumer awareness of our product," he said.

Lim said there are plans for further expansion of both businesses.

"We have not yet finalised the leases on those locations but we are actually in negotiations right now to finalise a couple," he said, adding that those deals include one of each franchise.

Lim said, however, that the restaurant arm of the business has faltered under the recession, saying the numbers reflect a 10 per cent decline in transactions because of the reduction in consumer spending.

To tease business back to its store, Wisynco Foods has ramped up advertising, and is offering more value-added meals, or specials.

The beverage division, Mahfood said, had weathered the downturn and was holding its own.

Wisynco distributes the popular Wata brand, Ocean Spray drinks, and Bigga sodas, among others.

In January it introduced a new product, the energy drink, Boom.

Bottled-water sales have grown 50 per cent, according to Mahfood, who said demand was pushed by drought conditions.

The public water system has been rationing supplies at the tap, creating market opportunities for water sellers.

"I think, generally, on the beverage side, we have been seeing tremendous growth," Mahfood said.