Irish hospitality group Press Up expands into Britain

Wowburger and Elephant and Castle to open up outlets in shopping centre in Doncaster

There are currently six Elephant and Castle locations in Dublin, including the flagship site in Temple Bar

Hospitality group Press Up Entertainment is launching its Wowburger and Elephant and Castle restaurant brands in Britain.

Both brands are taking space in the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster as part of an expansion into Britain by the group. Businessman Paddy McKillen snr, who is a shareholder in Press Up, and whose son of the same name was a co-founder of the hospitality group, has an ownership interest in the shopping centre.

Wowburger and Elephant and Castle are taking 260sq m (2,800sq ft) and 372sq m (4,000sq ft) units respectively within the centre. Both will open on the first floor of Frenchgate’s North Mall Gallery in the fourth quarter.

Press Up, the country’s largest pub and restaurant group, has been considering an expansion overseas for at least two years.


The company, which was set up by Mr McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan at the depths of the recession in 2009, owns a large number of businesses locally, including the Dean Hotel in Dublin 4, the Workman's Club on the south quays of the river Liffey, and the Stella cinema in Rathmines.


The group abandoned a plan to raise up to €50 million through the disposal of a 45 per cent stake in its business to investors late last year. That plan came about after it abandoned a potential initial public offering.

Wowburger currently has 14 outlets in Ireland, clustered in and around Dublin and Cork. The fast-growing brand closely models itself on hip burger restaurants such as Shake Shack and In-N-Out Burger.

Press Up acquired Temple Bar landmark Elephant and Castle in late 2017 from the family of US restaurateur Dr George Schwarz, who set up the original Elephant And Castle in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1973.

There are currently six Elephant and Castle locations in Dublin, including the flagship site.

"We have been planning the UK debuts of Wowburger and Elephant and Castle for some time, following closely a handful of locations that meet our requirements," said Laura Arnold, head of marketing and public relations for Press Up.

“Frenchgate is ideal, with its high footfall, strong regional appeal, and an evident commitment to providing visitors with a range of engaging food and beverage brands,” she added.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist