Freshii to open 6 new Irish stores by end of 2017

New stores will lead to the creation of 60 jobs at the healthy fast-food chain, says CEO

Freshii Ireland franchise holders Dave O’Donoghue and Cormac Manning outside one of the company’s stores in Dublin. Photograph: Andres Poveda

Freshii Ireland franchise holders Dave O’Donoghue and Cormac Manning outside one of the company’s stores in Dublin. Photograph: Andres Poveda

 

Healthy fast-food chain Freshii plans to open six new Irish restaurants by the end of this year.

The new outlets include locations in Dame Street, the Point Village, Sandyford and Smithfield and will lead to the creation of 60 jobs.

“I’m delighted that Freshii has grown so quickly in Ireland. By Christmas we will have close to 20 Freshii outlets across the country – which is a significant achievement by our Irish Master Franchise owners Dave O’Donoghue and Cormac Manning in just over two years,” said Matthew Corrin, the group’s founder and chief executive.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr Corrin outlined his plans for his company to “own the health and wellness space”. Mr Corrin said the company plans to have 420 stores worldwide by the end of this year and a total of 810 by the end of 2019. “30 per cent [of those opening new stores] are existing partners redeploying their cash flow,” he said.

The company’s Irish franchise has been particularly successful compared to its global counterparts. Growth has matched that of when the group was founded by Mr Corrin at the age of 23. Mr Corrin ultimately went on to open nine stores in two years following an initial investment in the business of 250,000 Canadian dollars (€168,930).

Nimble expansion

The company’s strategy, according to former Aryzta executive Mr O’Donoghue, lends itself to nimble expansion. Typically, Freshii targets small retail spaces which allow for smaller rents. A recently opened outlet in Co Limerick is in a space of 720sq ft. Additionally, with nothing cooked on site, the company doesn’t employ chefs at each of its outlets, thus keeping down costs.

The likelihood of the brand becoming stagnant is small, the pair suggest. This comes down to the fact that the menu can constantly change while the brand name, Freshii, doesn’t tie itself to any particular food unlike Subway – whose brand is intrinsically linked to “subs”, according to Mr Corrin.

Aside from Mr Corrin, who holds around a third of the company alongside members of his family, other significant investors include Fidelity Investments, Manulife Financial and Royal Bank of Canada.

The most recent financial reports for the Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company show that it made a pre-tax loss of C$1.5 million in the 26-week period to June 25th. That compared to a pre-tax profit of C$2.1 million for the same period in 2016. The company did, however, deliver its 17th consecutive quarter of same store sales growth.

On Tuesday, the company announced a deal with Air Canada whereby a selection of the company’s meals will be sold on the airline from the beginning of October.

Also on Tuesday, another Freshii outlet opened in an Applegreen store, increasing the company’s store presence in the forecourt retailer to six.