Jerry Bacchus, owner of the popular Jerries food outlets in Georgetown, says openly that the popular axiom about good help being hard to find applies as much to his enterprise as it does to any other.
Staffing deficiencies are not singular to Jerries. It is a national problem and it is not confined to the food industry.
He wishes he can surrender some of the responsibility to someone who is trustworthy and capable, but laments that the truth is that having lost his previous senior manager he finds it difficult to recruit another.
During the hour or so earlier this week when we sat together at his Waterloo Street ‘All Night Long’ restaurant, he excused himself once to attend to a problem then cited that as a reason why he needed good help.
What he really needs, he says, is a manager who can manage while training. The customer service associated with the food industry is probably more challenging than most. Sometimes, depending on the level at which a waitress might be recruited the training might not work quickly enough. Mistakes might cause doubt about whether the investment is worth the while.
Bacchus appears to be a worrier. It is a disposition that derives from his eagerness to provide a higher quality of service.
Apart from ‘All Night Long’, he also runs two other outlets, ‘Tight and Sweet’ on Robb Street and ‘The Runway’ at Ogle, once there used to be Auntie Rosie’s which has now closed. In addition, the canteen facilities at the Bishops’ High School and St Rose’s are also run by Jerries. These, he says, are different but equally onerous responsibilities. With children, the responsibility usually tends to be greater.
Though he is not averse to expansion, the availability of capital permitting, he concedes to being concerned about the additional responsibilities associated with that in a sector where so much can go wrong. It’s the suddenness with which things can go awry that bothers him. Much of this, he says, has to do with what he sincerely believes is an obligation to set high standards. Customers, he says, deserve the best and when something goes wrong he would feel as though he has let himself down as well.
He boasts about the way in which his establishments are open, welcoming, yet insistent on high standards. Those propensities, he says, derive from a philosophy for the enterprise fashioned by him and his wife Paula. He’s satisfied that what he has to offer is making a mark though he concedes that if what he envisages is to be realised there is still a considerable road to travel.