By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A restaurant entrepreneur yesterday moved to raise $850,000 from Bahamian crowdfunding investors to finance construction of a production and distribution centre and his planned franchise expansion.
Kevin Culmer, chief executive Tropical Gyros, speaking at his company’s launch via the ArawakX platform, said he has ambitions to franchise the concept within 12 months of opening a second outlet - provided he can first raise the necessary capital to start construction on his “production and distribution centre”.
“I think it’s important, before we start looking at the international exposure, to make sure that we get all the kinks worked out here to show logistical support for more than one location,” Mr Culmer said. “We are not just thinking expansion to North America, but this is international. I have a Bahamian who has a business in Jamaica. He’s a doctor, and he’s been after to me to open up in Jamaica, so we are looking at that.
“But like I said, the key for me is being able to support and be able to have an area where I can put the production and distribution centre, where I can make my sauces and dressings, and be able to then send them out because right now I do everything for the restaurant right there and that gets tedious at times, because sometimes you don’t have the space.”
Tropical Gyros presently has one location in New Providence after its second site at The Pointe closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, three new locations are targeted for next year on Carmichael Road, at Cable Beach and on Prince Charles Drive.
The company’s revenue increased by $250,000 last year compared to when it opened in 2017, and sales for 2002 are already $80,000 above last year’s. “We seem to be moving in the right direction and we seem to be outgrowing the location where we’re at,” Mr Culmer added.
“So I think it’s important, because we have been increasing our customer base, to have a location out either south-west on Carmichael Road or in the west for Cable Beach, to be able to give our customers an opportunity not to have to travel into Palmdale. We’ll have longer hours because our Palmdale location shuts down at 5pm, so it gives people an opportunity to enjoy Tropical Gyros not just for lunch, but for dinner as well especially with our tropical bowls.”
“The moment that the raise is completed, and ArawakX gives me the go-ahead, I should be up and running within three months of that,” Mr Culmer said. The production and distribution centre will be built simultaneously with the second location, and would take six months to complete.
Mr Culmer said the inspiration for Tropical Gyros came during the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, where he set up a stall to serve food. Gauging the reaction of customers, he added that he knew he had a hit and, shortly thereafter, started the company.