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Rum Bum Beach Bar loses Horseshoe concession

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Rum Bum Beach Bar, Horseshoe Bay Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Rum Bum Beach Bar, Horseshoe Bay Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A new tenant is expected to take on the lease to run a beachside café at Horseshoe Bay.

The Rum Bum Beach Bar was managed by South Beach Ltd on behalf of Chops Ltd, which won the tender in 2016.

But Chris Montgomery, a director at South Beach, said the company was unsuccessful in its bid to retain the site.

He added: “We were upset that we weren’t given the opportunity to have at least another five years based off of our investments, based off of what we have done and what we promised to do.”

Mr Montgomery said: “Everything we promised to do, we did.

“There’s nothing missing, so it wasn’t pie in the sky.

“I would be very interested to find out what the new lessee put forward and if they’re going to do it.”

Mr Montgomery added: “Covid, this year, decimated us, we lost money terribly this year but we stayed open for the entire season – no other beach bar on the island managed to do that.”

The businessman said that when the former Horseshoe Bay Beach Café was taken on in February 2016 it was in a bad state with “water leaking everywhere”.

He added: “We were given a task of turning it around within basically a month to be operational before the season started, so the timeline was very tight.

“We managed to accomplish that.”

Mr Montgomery added that there were talks at the time with Government representatives about the possibility that the company could be granted an another five years at the Southampton site based on its investment in the property.

He said that “well over” $1 million was spent on upgrades and improvements since February 2016, including a new bar and making the concession “more inviting”.

Mr Montgomery added: “There are a couple of things that we are so proud of, one was being 100 per cent Bermudian staff since day one.

“We had over 100 employees every year.

“We managed to diminish wait times for people. When you’ve got 60 to 80 people coming in on four buses, you have to accommodate them – our lay-out and design managed to do that.

“The building was built to service 300 to 500 people, we were doing 3,000 to 5,000 a day, that’s in peak season.”

Mr Montgomery said Rum Bum staff also helped maintain the surrounding beach.

He added: People just assumed that Government were dealing with it.

“We bagged up all the trash … we walked that beach every day to ensure it was left in the pristine condition that Bermudians want.”

Mr Montgomery said: “From the standpoint of being a good corporate citizen, I think we far exceeded that because we did customer service training for our staff, we encouraged them all to have the Bermuda Tourism Ambassador training.

“We had a minimum wage down there so all of our staff were guaranteed minimum $15 an hour."

He added that the company offered a higher rent when its latest tender package was submitted before the July 1 deadline.

Mr Montgomery, who said the bar opened from March until the end of each year, said: “We were offering an unemployment fund for staff in the off-season.

“We were going to set aside some money based off our sales.”

But he added that the company was told this month that its bid was unsuccessful.

It is understood that the Government will provide an update about the lease next week.

Rick Olson, a veteran bar and restaurant owner whose interest in South Beach was sold to Mr Montgomery about a year ago, is assisting in the sale of equipment from the bar.

He said: “I’m just helping him to connect with people in the industry to sell some bulk stuff.

“Then we will probably have a public sale some time in the future.”

A post on Mr Olson’s Facebook page said: “We presently have an intact kitchen, beach rentals, bar equipment, refrigeration and lots of miscellaneous including a John Deere cart Gator.”

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Published November 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm (Updated November 21, 2020 at 1:03 am)

Rum Bum Beach Bar loses Horseshoe concession

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