Mon | Mar 4, 2024

Mother’s transforming to food company

Published:Friday | December 8, 2023 | 12:06 AMNeville Graham - Business Reporter
Contributed Mother’s Managing Director Sheldon Seymour.

Hiring ads for fast-food company Mother’s have been popping up recently on multiple channels.

Managing Director Sheldon Seymour says it is part of a non-stop expansion push that began with the change in ownership in May 2023.

Mother’s refurbished its Liguanea location and should finish an upgrade of the Barry Street location before January 2024. The company opened two new outlets, both in St Mary - one in Annatto Bay and the other in Highgate. Seymour says this brings to 20 the total number of locations, and is a prelude to what is to come in 2024.

“We’re looking at five additional locations. For obvious reasons, I can’t say exactly where they’ll be, but I can say that St Ann and the Kingston metropolitan region should figure in this expansion,” Seymour told The Financial Gleaner.

Indications are that Mother’s will be spending upwards of $350 million on the expansion programme. By fast-food industry standards, the typical location, in terms of outfitting and equipment costs, is about J$60 million, according to industry sources.

Seymour says, depending on each proposed location, he expects to spend about J$70 million. Funding will be through unnamed investors, he says.

The addition of the new branches will mean an expansion of the workforce, according to the managing director. The company currently has a total of 900 staff. Seymour says the expansion programme calls for another 120 new hires.

In light of prevailing labour shortages, Mother’s has placed job ads in several channels, hoping to add to its human resources to support the expansion.

“We have some new opportunities that we’ll be exploring in 2024, so we’ve started the hiring ahead of that to start training,” Seymour said.

Operating from its Retirement Road base, Mother’s does more than just patties and pastries. Seymour says the company wants to be known as a food company and does catering at multiple levels for clients, ranging from small private dinners to large public functions.

“We’re doing large catering for fundraising runs, major corporate events, and there’s nothing that you think about that we can’t prepare for you. We cater birthday parties and, even recently, there was a contract for 800 breakfasts, lunches and dinners for two weeks,” Seymour said.

Mother’s currently acts as concessionaire for nine school canteens with Wolmer’s Girls’ and Boys’ schools, Jamaica College, Immaculate Conception High, Excelsior High, EXED Community College, Manchester High, along with two primary schools in Naggo Head, and Spanish Town Primary. Seymour says operating in schools is more than supplying nutrition, but also builds the Mother’s brand.

“The school programme is not just for revenue generation, but how do we start to connect back to our youth and their development, which ultimately is about the future.,” Seymour said, adding that Mother’s is extending itself into a focus on nutritional and STEM education support among its youth targets, to build the company brand among future customers.

Seymour says the company is also making a push into exports, with a view to accelerating in 2024. Mother’s buns and pastries are already being exported to Canada, and in limited amounts to the United States.

Seymour says the holding company, MEL 2022 Limited, acquired Mother’s from the aggregation of Adrian and Richard Foreman, along with Victor Hudson and West Wind Holdings, for an undisclosed sum.

Companies Office documents show that MEL 2022 has a long list of shareholders; among them Roots Immanuel Ltd, FESCO, Sygnus Credit Investments and Rosh Developments. Kevin Donaldson, Sheldon Seymour, Jason Carby, Ravi Rambarran and Clement Lawrence sit as directors of the company.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com