While the option of a drive-through restaurant on the Island has been largely welcomed by those with a fancy for fast-food, not so much appreciated has been the prices being charged for menu items at the newly opened Pinky’s Drive-Thru.
The latest sibling of restaurateur Marico Thomas’ Food Hub family of stores, has come in for criticism over what some have deemed as overly inflated charges for food, that by it’s nature, often represents low-end fare of inferior nutritional value and a more likely contributor to bad health.
A look at Pinky’s menu shows a cheeseburger listed at $12.50, with a check among many of the Island’s other mom and pop take-out businesses showing the amount being charged at Pinky’s, to be almost doubled the $7 average.
Meanwhile, a combo meal of burger, fries and a drink come at a cost of more than $20, meaning that a family of four visiting the drive-through can expect to spend in the region of $100, not so dissimilar an amount the same family might expect to unload at a casual diner.
Further to compare, the average cost of a fast food meal at a United States fast-food chain is between $5-$7.
Thomas responded to such critcism in a recent social media post, noting high start-up costs, building renovations, along with those incurred via his use of inexperienced Bermudian staff, as comntributary factors to prices.
“Subsequent to my Week One update of Pinky’s Drive Thru, there were a few questions regarding our costs and our prices,” posted Thomas. “I promised that I would offer more insight in a later post.
“I do believe that it is useful for people to be both informed and educated so that we can all better ourselves and grow.
“It is in this vein that I offer the following:
“A quality drive thru costs 2.5 to 3 million dollars to build, where a typical quality restaurant can be built for 900,000.
“The very nature and operations of a drive thru providing quality products at an incredibly fast pace, will result in the drive thru incurring higher then normal food costs.
“Typically a restaurant with a high build cost requires an alcohol license, or a significant number of customers to make its money back. It also requires a long time.
“Our dedication to providing Bermudian jobs means starting with inexperienced persons who have to be trained and developed (and decide they like the work and want to stay with it). This is far more expensive and initially less effective and less productive than hiring already skilled expats dedicated to making this their career.
“A restaurant only requires space inside a building. A drive thru requires space inside, plus space outside…, and in our case, 2 lanes of roadway and parking which can accommodate over 35 vehicles on the property. This means higher initial build costs and ongoing operating and maintenance costs.
“We are committed to the hiring, advancement and long-term employment of Bermudians and this includes providing access to high quality medical insurance.
“Ultimately you can’t have nice stuff in Bermuda then not expect to pay for it. Well…, you can, but your expectations will not be met. You get what you pay for, therefore, with any purchase a buyer has three considerations – but you only get to pick two of the three: quality, speed, price. Each of us has to decide which is more important to you.
“Do you remember the building when it was a convenience store? There was an asphalt driveway but it was quite uneven and whenever it rained, the water would run down Upland St and join with more water from Middle Road that would flood the back parts of the driveway?
“We could have very easily spent less by not putting in a new driveway, by having only one $40,000 dollar order station, by not installing lamppost lighting, by only providing HIP insurance, etc. This would help to offer a lower cost burger, BUT then you would complain we jacked up your car suspension, we take too long to serve, that the traffic is backed up in the main road, and we are not taking good care of our team members.
“At Pinky’s, our focus is: QUALITY (angus beef, tender chicken breasts, high end seasonings, awesome home-made ice creams) SAFETY (rules, policies, training, auditing) SPEED (equipment, processes and projections), BERMUDIAN EMPLOYMENT (already explained) and ,
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION (convenience, variety, texture, flavour, texture).
“Let’s see if Bermuda residents want that too.”
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