Mobile bar plans partly nixed

OK’d in conjunction with catering restaurants

Grand Cayman’s Liquor Licensing Board rebuffed an attempt by the Dart Group to offer mobile bar services by its liquor distributor company, after the owner of a catering company objected to the application. However, the board did approve Dart’s application to offer mobile bar services in conjunction with catering its restaurants offer. 

“It will crush small business,” said Sean Collins, managing director of Mise en Place Ltd., about the application dealing with Dart’s Cayman Distributors Group. 

Mr. Collins said 35 Caymanians or residents work at his company and that 30 per cent of his business comes from mobile bar services. 

He said the board had granted him a mobile licence only because he is a professional caterer and that Cayman Distributors Group would pose unfair competition to small Caymanian companies. 

“Other caterers feel similarly,” Mr. Collins said during the board’s quarterly meeting 20 June. 

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‘Shifting sands’ 

Joanne Lawson, who is senior manager of organisational development and administration for Dart Enterprises Ltd., had applied for permission to vary an existing retail liquor licence for duty-free sales (which remains unused at Camana Bay) in order to sell alcohol to complement catering services, and to change the location of the licence to the Cayman Distributors Group headquarters. 

Ms Lawson said Cayman Distributors Group wanted to be able to offer mobile bar services at sports events, concerts, etc. 

The board determined not to grant permission for those changes. 

Cayman Distributors Group Managing Director Mat Bishop protested Mr. Collins’ statements. 

“We are not in business to undermine his or other businesses. We want to serve our customers as best we can,” he said. 

Mr. Bishop said two of Grand Cayman’s seven mobile licences are linked to competitor distributor companies. 

“The precedent has already been set,” he said. 

Board Chair Mitchell Welds said those distributor companies had licences with permission to offer mobile services, and that the board had not granted them variations to existing licences in order to offer mobile services, as Ms Lawson was requesting. 

Mr. Bishop said the request to vary the licence was due to “shifting sands” in Cayman’s tourism scene, with fewer cruise visitors and more stayover visitors. “We’re not in the position to open a duty-free store at Camana Bay in the next five to 10 years,” he said. 


Dart catering 

Though the board rejected the application related to Cayman Distributors Group, it approved the transfer of an existing mobile retail licence (and music and dancing licence) to Dart Enterprises Chief Operating Officer Jacqueline Doak. 

The licences had been held by Texroy Fisher for Myrtle’s Restaurant Mobile Bar Services in Queen’s Court Plaza on West Bay Road. 

Dart intends to use the licences in order to offer catering by the company’s restaurants. 

On the agenda for the same meeting was a separate application by Ms Doak for a music and dancing licence at the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. Ms Doak was unable to attend the meeting, so that application was deferred until the board’s September meeting. 


While the Dart Group’s application for a mobile bar service attached to its liquor distribution centre was denied, it was approved for restaurants in its stable that wish to cater. – Photo: File
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