Aqua Beach on the Seven Mile Beach
strip will be offering a breakfast menu starting Friday, 17 September.
Rather than opening early, said
shareholder Canover Watson, the bar will now be serving its normal menu until
10pm, and then breakfast food between 11pm and 4am. Under the terms of its current
dual bar and restaurant licenses, the bar will stop serving alcohol at 1am.
“It’s the challenge of the times;
necessity is the mother of all invention. We were looking for a way to
capitalise on our restaurant license and we have a captive audience… right on
the strip at Seven Mile Beach with proximity to everything that’s happening,”
said Mr. Watson. “We’re being as creative as we can to try and maximise our
“It’s going to be every night and
it’s basically a Denny’s-type breakfast menu. There are some jerk stands [where
you can eat late] but nobody has an actual sit-down breakfast product.”
It’s been done partly in response
to current economic conditions as businesses seek to reposition themselves as
conditions have changed.
“In these times it’s becoming a bit
more challenging and tourist numbers are down. Our clientele tended to be
expatriates living on-island as a core local group and their numbers and the
demographics have diminished quite significantly,” he said.
“A lot of those people were in the
industry, and if tourism numbers are down there are no jobs for those people
who live and work here, and even in the professional sector a lot have left and
gone to other places, which has put a big strain [on businesses]. We had to
take a step back, reinvent ourselves and think about how we diversify in order
to make our product more attractive.”
Mr. Watson added that there will be
weekly theme nights, including a regular schedule of live music.
He added that changes were being
introduced now in order to create momentum and establish the reputation of the
additional nights in readiness for the high tourist season, rather than trying
to create new nights at a very busy time.
Diversifying the product
Diversification of activities in
order to attract locals and tourists alike is something Mr. Watson said is key
to surviving in the current era.
“We are going to continue to have
challenging times. We now need to look at this as the new normal and figure out
how we’re going to thrive in this new environment. You have to reinvent
yourself because a place like Cayman won’t necessarily get back to [previous]
levels. You have to identify your strengths and work out how to maximise and
capitalise on them.
“The biggest driver for our economy
is not government fees or anything like that; it’s simply physically having
people on the island that have spending power. Our whole economy is
consumption-driven, so the more people you have consuming the more apartments
are rented, the more the shops sell. It’s a trickle-down and we need a certain
level of population to be sustainable. Not just a larger population base, but
the right population base, and we need to align our immigration policies with
the economics,” he said.
Recognising strengths and
re-evaluating what is being done well in an honest manner must be done in order
to strengthen what Cayman has to offer, added Mr. Watson.
“You can’t sit back and expect it
to happen; you need to improve the product to attract [people]. It doesn’t
matter if you’re talking about government level, a global company trying to
grow globally or a restaurant on Seven Mile strip.
“You have to improve the product.
If I improve my product and other people feel they have to [follow suit], then
that improves the tourism product and starts to bring people in. That’s the
micro view that everyone has to take and do more now. First we compete locally,
then putting it together we have to compete as a nation against Jamaica,
Bahamas, Bermuda and now Cuba is coming into the equation.
“We need to raise the bar. Some of
that needs government intervention in terms of policies and finding a balance
between the things government sees as important – and whether these things are
still relevant. We need to be talking about how the Cayman product stands up
against our competitors.”