The sounds of Jimmy Buffett’s music will become a permanent fixture at the George Town waterfront when the popular singer’s themed restaurant, entertainment and merchandise chain opens next month.
Construction is nearing completion, which should allow for Margaritaville to open within a month.
‘We’re shooting for early September,’ said General Manager Arthur Screaton.
Jimmy Buffett himself will not be at the soft opening, but Mr. Screaton said he will definitely be here at some point.
‘We have a plan of when we’d like him to be here, one that we’d like to see him fit his schedule around,’ said Mr. Screaton. ”Whether he can fit it into his schedule, we’re not sure. We’re still working on it.’
Primarily located on the second floor of the Anchorage Centre, Margaritaville will also have a retail presence on the ground floor and tower element where patrons can go down a waterslide into second floor pool.
Margaritaville will take up some 15,000 square feet of space, which will accommodate 642 people, including about 200 in the nightclub, Mr. Screaton said.
‘We’re expecting to see 3,000 people through the door each day in the season,’ Mr. Screaton said.
Although Margaritaville expects most of its business will come from cruise ship passengers, it will not forget about the local resident market. It will be open every day and stay open late.
Mr. Screaton said he hopes Margaritaville can draw people into George Town during the evening.
‘We’d like to encourage the development of the downtown core, of course.
‘Cayman is a very curious market,’ he said. ‘[Residents] will come out to see what it’s all about. It’s up to us to make them want to come back.’
Margaritaville will offer three bars; one in the restaurant, one in the nightclub and a pool bar. There is also a hot tub by the pool bar.
There will be 24 televisions throughout the restaurant where residents can watch their favourite sporting events.
The nightclub will have its own booth for visiting DJs.
A specific evening entertainment programme will be developed for residents as well, Mr. Screaton said.
In addition, Margaritaville can host private events as large as 450-500 people. Mr. Screaton said he expects to be very busy with Christmas parties.
‘It is also the perfect spot for the Pirate’s Week parade,’ he said.
Another key feature of Margaritaville is its retail merchandise. Besides the two-storey retail store, there will be several merchandise kiosks in the establishment.
The food will feature some Margaritaville favourites, plus local cuisine.
‘Number one is the Cheeseburger in Paradise,’ Mr. Screaton said, speaking of the menu item named after a popular Jimmy Buffett song.
‘We’ll also have things like jerk chicken, marinated conch and fish, Cayman style.’
The pirate logo designed for this Margaritaville will also reflect Cayman.
‘We will fit into the local scene as much as we can. We’re Margaritaville Cayman,’ Mr. Screaton said.
The opening staff will come from Margaritavilles in the United States and Jamaica, as well as locally.
‘We’re very encouraged by the quality of the hospitality staff available on the island, both in the local market and expatriates,’ Mr. Screaton said.
Some of the higher manager will also come from other Margaritavilles.
Mr. Screaton said he was able to see first hand how Margaritavilles operate when he visited the one in Orlando.
‘It was an incredible eye-opener,’ he said. ‘I watched a kitchen put out $6,000 in sales – about 600 meals – an hour without missing a beat.’
Because it will open in a slowest tourist time of the year, Mr. Screaton said there would be about 85 employees to start with.
‘But it may blossom to over 100 easily in prime season,’ he said.
Mr. Screaton said he thought residents would take to Margaritaville and all that it offers.
‘We also have great food, great drink and a desire to do anything it takes to please guests.’