KLE Group plans to set up a pop-up restaurant at the Reggae Sumfest music festival, which kicks off today, and has future plans to franchise this new concept which will debut as Sumfest Acoustic Cafe.

"We are currently looking for the first permanent location as we speak," said Gary Matalon, CEO of KLE Group and managing director of its franchising arm, FranJam.

Matalon said it would cost US$250,000 to US$350,000 to build a permanent location, inclusive of fees and working capital.

"I already have someone who is interested in a franchise even before we have actually built the first corporate store. So the first unit may even be a franchise unit. So I wouldn't want to say it would be KLE that would open the first location," said Matalon on Friday.

On Wednesday, Matalon signed an intellectual property agreement with Joseph Bogdanovich of Downsound Entertainment, allowing KLE access to 25 years of content that will be used in Sumfest Acoustic Cafe. The financial and other terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Bogdanovich acquired the rights to Sumfest in 2016. He is also a director of KLE Group and its largest shareholder with a 23 per cent stake, and majority owner of FranJam. Matalon owns 16 per cent of KLE.

"This agreement gives FranJam access to 25 years of high-quality audio and visual recordings, which will be used to amplify the atmosphere that will be created at every Sumfest Acoustic Cafe and provide an authentic Jamaican stage show experience inside each location. Our aim is for our customers to taste, feel and hear the rhythm of Jamaica with every bite," said Matalon in a release about the Sumfest Acoustic agreement.

The pop up restaurant will be a replica of what patrons can expect at the actual locations, incorporating the overall look and feel and proposed menu items, the release said.

Sumfest Acoustic is the second franchise concept coming out of the FranJam Group, which operates under a management contract with the KLE Group. The first is the Usain Bolt Tracks & Records which currently has two operating locations and a third under construction.

Sumfest festival events will run for one week up to July 22 in Montego Bay.


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