Develop home-grown brand to market globally

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali and First Lady Arya Ali at the ceremonial ribbon-cutting

…as int’l restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s opens in G/Town

President Dr Irfaan Ali is challenging the local business community to create a home-grown brand good enough to be taken on the global market.

The Head of State made these remarks on Sunday evening at the opening of the international Asian and Chinese food restaurant chain, P.F. Chang’s, in Georgetown.

“I want us to use this opportunity today as we celebrate the arrival of a global brand in our country to see how we can now position a local brand that we can develop globally. And we have the capacity. We have the capability…”

“We have a rich culture, a rich tradition in our tastebuds, in our food. Imagine being innovative and bold enough first to develop a local brand, to believe in that brand, to position that brand and then to take that brand globally,” President Ali posited.

According the Guyanese, this new brand does not have to be food but can be in jewellery or craft.

“We have to start thinking outside the box and being bold in that thinking and creating Guyanese brand that we can position globally. These are the things that will set us apart,” he posited.

Already, the Guyana Government has been building and pushing ‘Brand Guyana’ as a major tourism attraction.

President Ali pointed out that Guyana, today, carries much more weight given its unprecedent economic growth and ongoing transformation due to the burgeoning oil and gas sector – an opportunity that must not be taken for granted.

P.F. Chang

Moreover, with more new global brands coming to Guyana coupled with at least 10 new hotels expected to come on stream by the end of next year and bringing with them new restaurants, bars and entertainment areas, the Guyanese Leader underscored the need to attract visitors to utilise these facilities and services.

He talked about investing in the local tourism industry and promoting ‘Brand Guyana’ to bring in that traffic. This responsibility, the President stated, is not just the government’s but also the private sector.

“You don’t need three million people living in Guyana but you need at least more than two million people passing through Guyana to utilise the services that we are investing in and creating… And you will see over the coming months, a very strategic approach in addressing this. How do we create events? How do we create tournaments? How do we create the ecosystem to support this initiative of bringing people into the country and that is what is important for us,” the Head of State posited.

In the same breath, however, President Ali stressed the need to protect ‘Brand Guyana’ – a responsibility that is not just the government and private sector but also every Guyanese.

“In everything you do, protect the brand and that is what we have to do. Protect Brand Guyana, and all of us must be the marketers of Brand Guyana. This must be a unified approach in positioning brand Guyana because it is only Brand Guyana that can help in that traffic [coming here],” he stated.

On this note, the Guyanese Leader lauded the Corum Group – owned by Guyanese Clairmont Cummings and Iman Cummings, who operate several global restaurant franchises here – for bringing yet another international food chain to local shores.

Corum Group had said the aim is to make P.F. Chang’s Georgetown location as a go-to destination for those seeking an exceptional dining experience in the Caribbean.

During brief remarks, Clairmont said Sunday’s opening of the P.F. Chang’s on main Hight Street, Georgetown, is a culmination of nearly two years of hard work and setback. He noted that this partnership with PFC is not just about bringing a global brand here but a testament of the growing confidence of marquee brands in Guyana as a place for investment and partnership.

“As a group, we believe, fundamentally, that investments like these will only add diversity and growth to the local culinary landscape… The real genuine intent here is not just investment in cool concepts but to also create concepts that foster a sense of community – a place where friends and families can gather, celebrate, talk through issues and make lasting memories.”

“I’m truly excited to see how P.F. Chang’s will bring people together and continue to bridge the human connection through the universal language of simply great food,” the businessman stated.

Remarks were also made by Rafik Farouk – Director of Global Franchising at P.F. Chang’s, during Sunday’s opening.

This venture is the first undertaken by the Corum Group since its partnership with JMMB Jamaica, one of the Caribbean’s largest investment banks that bought a minority stake in the Guyanese-owned group. Through this partnership, P.F. Chang’s locations will also be opened in Jamaica, Barbados, and the Cayman Islands.