Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Cru Bar gets new management

Published:Friday | January 24, 2020 | 12:29 AM
Kenyon Hemans/Photographer  
A drink rests on the counter at Cru Bar in Kingston. Bar owner CPJ has outsourced the management of Cru to Taste of Life Limited.
Kenyon Hemans/Photographer A drink rests on the counter at Cru Bar in Kingston. Bar owner CPJ has outsourced the management of Cru to Taste of Life Limited.

Food manufacturer and distributor Caribbean Producers Jamaica, CPJ, owner of the Cru Bar brand, has appointed an independent management company to run the entertainment spot.

Cru Bar & Kitchen currently operates from a single location at Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston. The bar is part of the retail structure of CPJ, which also operates CPJ Market.

Dr David Lowe, the outgoing CEO of CPJ, told the Financial Gleaner that a company called Taste of Life Limited will provide the management required to grow Cru’s profitability over the medium term. The parties finalised the agreement on January 17.

“It is not our objective to open more locations, but if an opportunity presents itself then we will consider it,” Lowe said.

He said CPJ was late to the lounge market in 2012 and decided to focus on items not typically ordered, such as wines and select meats. This, along with Cru’s modern bar aesthetic, allowed the brand to stand out at the premium end of the market.

“It is not a profit-centre but it sustains itself. It is self-generating,” he said.

Due to both the increased workload for CPJ’s expanding core operations and the recognition that retail outfits require focused attention to drive innovations, the company decided to outsource management of the bar.

Cru doesn’t earn a lot for CPJ, but serves to market the wines and meat that CPJ trades in.

“We maintained and satisfied our objectives since 2012,” said Lowe. “But it was never core to our business.”

Cru operates from the same location as CPJ Market at the Courtyard at 71 Lady Musgrave Road, a complex owned by an architect-developer.

“CPJ leases the premises from an entity owned by Clifton Yap,” Lowe said.

Taste of Life Limited was formed in 2018 as an operator of restaurants and lounges. It lists its sole shareholder as attorney Marc Harrison. Directors include Jerome Smalling, Peter Jason Wright and Keith Murray.

The terms of the deal between Taste of Life and CPJ were not disclosed.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com