Our culture, our taste
Royal Castle was incorporated in 1968, as the first hundred-percent, family-owned and locally operated, quick service restaurant in Trinidad and Tobago. Its first outlet on Frederick St., Port of Spain, had only 12 employees. Today, the company, which is still privately owned, has evolved into one of the most successful restaurant chains in the region with 350 employees at 29 corporate-owned locations and ten franchises – four in Trinidad and Tobago, and six in Guyana.
The company’s spread across Trinidad & Tobago includes locations as far south as Point Fortin and Rio Claro, as far east as Valencia and Sangre Grande, and throughout the north, central and east/west corridor. Its main operation for production and warehousing, as well as its administrative functions, are in the industrial estate in Arima. Its newest corporate restaurant opened in Debe, Trinidad, in August 2015.
Sandy Roopchand, the company’s managing director, believes that Royal Castle can compete with the big international chains, such as McDonalds and KFC, because “we are local and our customers like the local taste and flavor.” Indeed, over the years the company has always been quick to innovate and adapt to its customers’ expectations for variety and taste. Its current menu selection includes chicken, fish, sandwiches, vegetable burgers, salads, rotisserie chicken, and a wide selection of beverages, all of which are presented in newly upgraded facilities or via drive-thru, or home or office delivery.
In keeping with its insistence of local flavor, Royal Castle has always supported local farmers and is proud of its commitment to using only locally grown and produced seasonings. All of its sauces, seasonings, marinates, and recipes are 100 percent locally sourced, and all of the chicken served in its restaurants are locally produced. A state-of-the-art ensemble of freezers, chillers and refrigerated trucks make certain that its foodstuffs maintain their freshness throughout the process from production to delivery to arrival.
“Royal Castle has built and maintained strong quality relationships with suppliers to ensure consumers that all ingredients are of the highest quality and all products are competitively priced,” Roopchand says. “All of our products are cooked fresh daily for sale and consumption. Food and health and safety standards are regularly reviewed to ensure that the highest quality standards are kept and maintained.” All of the company’s equipment is certified as energy efficient, and it has also made investments to integrate industry leading machinery from well-known brands into its production operation, with an aim to generate energy savings thanks to high-efficiency heating elements and fast recovery. In addition, Royal Castle has a long-standing partnership with a local recycling company that collects and makes use of waste oil as an environmentally friendly bio-fuel.
According to Roopchand, the company’s current plan is “to grow the company up to around 50 stores – all corporate.” While the stores in Guyana will remain franchised, the rest of the Trinidad-based franchises will be absorbed over time as their owners still maintain franchise agreements which the company continues to honor. However, Roopchand believes that corporate stores are easier to manage, and that their offerings, décor, and daily business operations can be made more consistent throughout the chain, when integrated and controlled by a centralized administration.
Roopchand also believes that Royal Castle’s success over the past 47 years has been the fruit of creative vision, foresight, dedicated leadership, and hard work. “From the management team to the maintenance personnel, the company has always found innovative ways to ensure the highest level of operational standards and peak performance by aggressively pursuing and challenging ambitious strategies while consistently improving its product offerings. Royal Castle has been, and continues to be, recognized as a leader in the quick-service restaurant industry and the champion of the consumer.”
And, of course, Royal Castle is most proud of its local heritage. “We still maintain our local taste,” says Roopchand. “Also, we support our local suppliers. So everything is kept in Trinidad. We market based on the fact that we are local and our customers like the local taste and flavor.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Royal Castle Ltd.
WHAT: A fast food restaurant chain based in Trinidad and Tobago.
WHERE: Headquarters in Arima, Trinidad