Every now and then, we develop a craving for a great spot which includes high quality entertainment, finger-licking food, an appealing ambience and space for parking. Rarely are there establishments which provide all of these elements in one wonderful package.
Luckily, there is ‘The Garage – Drive-In Bar and Grill’ located on Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt Gardens, between Jackson Street and Plaza Bridge.
The establishment, commonly referred to as ‘The Garage’, is owned by Mr.Estwick Odonio Northe Jnr. and was opened three years ago as a response to persons who demanded a hangout spot which caters for parking.
Northe explained that this was the reason why a spacious empty lot, of approximately 18,450 square feet, was used. He said that customers can actually hang out while seeing their vehicle safe in the compound, instead of parking on the road. This led to Northe choosing the name, “The Garage” for the entity.
He said that The Garage is Guyana’s first drive-in bar and grill with the convenience of parking on the premises where persons have the option of dining in an open-air atmosphere on park-like benches with umbrellas and built-in phone chargers. Customers also have waiters and waitresses serving their tables, eliminating the need to leave the comfort of their seat.
The option is there for persons to sit under a garage-like facility and be entertained by a number of guest Disc Jockeys (DJs) and entertainers. If this does not tickle your fancy, the businessman said that customers can catch up on the latest sports action on the 12 x 8 feet projector screen. On occasions, The Garage features stage performances by the Chow Pow Comedy Jam.
Delicacies at this unique entertainment spot include freshly cooked creole dishes and meats, prepared on the spot in front of customers. This is done on the bar’s large Brazilian-style grill, suitable for grill-side dining.
The Garage’s menu includes barbequed chicken, barbequed pork, grilled steak, fish and chips, fried chicken, black pudding, souse, cook-up rice, fried rice and chowmein among other things.
Besides the Comedy Jam, the hangout spot would have its Karaoke Nights every Tuesday and Thursday. Movie Night is on Monday and Guest DJ Nights are on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Moreover, persons who believe that they have an event in mind that would suit the location can rent it to do so.
Knowing all of this is fine and dandy but it is also interesting to note the background story of this fine establishment.
Northe is the son of Estwick Northe Snr. and Hazeline Northe. He explained that, as a child, his mother would take him to church and ensured that he and his brother attended afterschool lessons.
“I grew up in the family business as my father owned and controlled a supermarket called N.P. Supermarket and Snackette and N.P. Fry Chicken on Robb Street. So when I came home, I would have to take part in selling at the shop and assisting with things concerning the business.”
Northe travelled a lot as a child; something he loves to do even today because it provides him with a broad scope of the outside world. He advised that persons should take trips here and there to broaden their horizon on life and what it has to offer. He got involved in marketing, based on the love he developed for psychology and human behavioural patterns.
The businessman is a former student of the Saint Stanislaus College and the University of Guyana where he graduated with a Degree with Honours in Business Management.
In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Inc. Magazine, the industrious entrepreneur shares more about his business and lifestyle.
Guyana Inc. Magazine (GIM): “What does your business offer and what are some of the processes involved in putting together your menu for the day or week along with hosting events?”
Estwick Northe (EN): “The process involved in putting together the daily or weekly menu starts from choosing the right suppliers of meat and vegetables while making sure they are always fresh and up to standard. If we find that they are lacking in some way, we would replace them with a better supplier. Besides offering a wide range of food every day, we also take in reviews and feedback from customers on what they would like to have and try our best to meet their needs through our delivery service etc.”
GIM: “What are some of your thoughts on business development in Guyana?”
EN: “I think Guyana is developing rapidly and more local food persons here need to come out and create local franchises instead of depending on overseas ones. We have everything here that you can think about, in terms of raw materials, so we need to get busy and create our own taste, and one day, a Guyanese food franchise which can be one of the leading food franchises in other parts of the world.”
GIM: “What challenges did you encounter in starting your business and how did you overcome them?”
EN: “The challenges I faced setting up business in Guyana are what most business people face here and that would be the slow processing of documents and permits and so forth in order for your business to be legitimate. Guyana needs to be more business friendly and oriented which would encourage more small businesses with great ideas to feel more comfortable in starting up and not like it’s a hard task. For example, some people I spoke to don’t even know about The Small Business Bureau of Guyana and the possibility of acquiring business loans with less pay back percentages than the banks, so I think this should be promoted more. I overcame these challenges by keeping the faith and being patient and strong.”
GIM: “How important is customer service to you and the performance of your business?”
EN: “Customer service is the most important tool in business because your business exists solely because of the customer. And the performance of the business needs to take this aspect very seriously. The staff must understand that the same money the customer spends on food ends up in their paycheck so they must treat them well.”
GIM: “What plans do you have for your business in the future?”
EN: “I plan to develop The Garage more and more, which I do every year, and maybe install a play area for children and a swimming pool.”
GIM: “What do you do in your spare time?”
EN: “In my spare time I hang out with friends, travel, go to the gym, search for business ventures and spend time with my partner.”
GIM: “How do you balance finding time for your health and wellbeing and the time your business requires?”
EN: “Being a business owner is quite time consuming but your health is important. You must find time for exercise, having a good diet and also relaxation, for that helps clear the mind as well.”
GIM: “How does your business differ from those of a similar nature? What different do you bring to the table?”
EN: “The difference, I would say, is the core competence that my team and I possess. For example, when we operate our mobile units and provide food at different events, like Cricket at the National Stadium, people know that they can expect freshly prepared food right in front of their eyes and not something that was cooked a while ago and was already put in a box just sitting there. Also, the friendliness of The Garage’s staff shows because some customers know them by name. I think that is why people would always choose The Garage’s booth at events like GuyExpo and other big events.
(Article taken from the Guyana Inc. Magazine Issue 27)