Runner Opens Jamaican Casual Dining Chain

Usain Bolt, holder of just about every world sprinting record, is opening a chain of Jamaican themed restaurants. It’s probably a good bet, since ‘chain’ Jamaican joints are pretty much unheard of, as yet, in the casual dining marketplace. And Bolt, himself, is a dynamic spokesperson…

T&R In Jamaica - © tracksandrecords.comThere is already a prototype Tracks and Records location open in Jamaica.
I wonder how their bottom line is doing? No prices posted on the online menu…

The first fifteen Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records franchises will open over the next five years in the U.K. They really love their spicy, curried Indian and Jamaican ‘takeaway’ there. Seems like a sure bet for the new chain. Insiders say Bolt is also looking at the U.S. as a secondary vector for expansion. The sooner the better…

Menu items will start with Wings, Skewers and Saltfish Tostones, all spiked with the house Jerk seasoning. Then come Jamaican Spring Rolls, Quesadillas, Nachos, Sliders and Fritters. Next course? Soups and Salads, followed by Sandwiches and Wraps, Burgers and a whole section on Jerk BBQ. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a free-standing Pizza and Pasta menu. And, yes, they also have Jamaican Hot Pots. But wait! There’s more! An entire section of the menu is given over to ‘Specialties’, including Steaks, Chops, Roast Chicken, and a cavalcade of baked and grilled Fish dishes.

Along with the food, the resto advertises authentic Jamaican entertainment… Yah, man!

But it sounds like a recipe for disaster…

The menu sounds great! But I think, as a restaurant school grad, that it’s over-ambitious.One of the first things they teach you, when planning a restaurant, is to keep the menu simple and the raw ingredient list as small as possible. That’s just good business. If you’re ready, at all times, to prepare and serve 60 different plates, plus Appetizers and Desserts, you’re going to have to have a lot of food on hand at all times. That will cost a lot of money. And the spoilage factor will quickly come into play. And how many cooks will you need to do it right? I’ll bet you can’t get by with one, unless you can find a really talented Jamaican native who can make all those dishes competently and consistently. And I’ll bet you can’t find one.

Aside from all that, I do hope Bolt’s concept includes varying levels of spice, because he’ll get a lot more customers offering Mild and Medium versions of his dishes and he will serving ‘regular’ hot only. His menu doesn’t say…

I think that, shortly after the first couple of Bolt’s restos open in the UK, you’ll see a major menu streamlining thrust. That’ll be good for everybody; Usain, his franchisees and his customers.

I hope he doesn’t – dare I say? – shoot the bolt and go bust before he can fine-tune his over-ambitious resto concept.

Nevertheless…

If a Tracks and Records location near you, don’t walk, don’t run – bolt to it! I’m confident thatj whatever you order, it will be genuine Jamaican joy food…

~ Maggie J.

Posted under: Comfort Food, Food News

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