Thursday 2 July, 2020

Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records set to go international

The second in the Usain Bolt Tracks & Records restaurant and bar franchise opened in Ocho Rios on Wednesday evening where KLE Group CEO Gary Matalon, told Loop News of plans to extend the franchise’s footprint both in Jamaica and abroad.

“Montego Bay is definitely a target market for us and we are currently in discussions for a Tracks & Records franchise in Montego Bay. Marsha and Joshua Jhamnani are on our radar to be selected as a franchisee for Montego Bay. They both have a fantastic record in business,” said Matalon.

The KLE Group, owns and operates both Tracks & Records establishments in Jamaica. Its CEO stressed that the growth programme should be controlled and not rushed. He added that the recruitment and selection process is very important and that finding the right franchisee cannot be understated. He underscored the point by revealing that he could have sold a dozen Tracks & Records franchises by now but had to ensure that the brand was in the right hands.

Back in 2008, when the first Tracks& Records was launched in Marketplace, Kingston, Matalon declared his ambition to take the restaurant chain aboard and that still remains his mission.

“At this point in time, we have a lot of deals on the table and there are people showing a lot of interest in Tracks& Records. The next restaurant may well be located in South Florida and discussions are well advanced.  Discussions for London, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also progressing,” said KLE’s CEO.

The KLE Group is currently in talks with one of London’s leading restaurateurs and hoteliers, Aly Esmail to bring Tracks & Records across all of England. 

The former chairman of KLE, Audrey Marks was recently appointed as Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States .David Shirley who is a founding partner of the KLE Group has now taken over as the new chairman. Matalon added Shirley brings a tremendous amount of strategic thinking to the role and has vast experience sitting on a number of boards.

“I am eternally grateful to have had Ambassador Marks’s contribution to the company. She has taken us through some of the roughest waters. She is a very successful entrepreneur and we benefited from her knowledge. She was very calm and was the voice of reason. She got us to a point where we are on a growth path, where we are profitable and the company is doing well. We are now looking forward to the contribution we are going to get from David Shirley who is very energised and up for this,” said Matalon.

KLE is now 8-years-old and as Matalon reflects on the progress made, he now thinks the principals should perhaps have been more cautious on their growth path.

He recounts the time when the company listed on the stock exchange and took on everything that came its way and suffered from the intoxication of the first flush of success.

“In those heady days we launched Fiction and Tracks & Records with us heading one way and the economy heading in the other direction.  We took on huge overheads, different business units and the timing was just wrong. We ended up having to take some tough decisions.

“Today we have refocused the business. We have grown it organically and we are now taking our time. I have to give thanks for the team that we have. Our vendors and sponsors have stood by us and have become true partners. We have weathered the storm and we have become stronger for it,” said Gary Matalon.

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