Food and lifestyle luxuries retailer Avoca will open a Poulet Bonne Femme concession at its new €3 million flagship store in Dunboyne, which will be the largest Avoca store and is on target to open by the first week of April.
Aramark, the multinational that paid the Pratt family more than €50 million for Avoca in 2015, is mulling an ambitious international expansion of the chain. The new 50,000sq ft store in Dunboyne will, however, be the first expansion of the footprint since the takeover, bringing Avoca's Irish network to 12. The new store will create more than 80 new jobs.
Speaking on the fringes of the Checkout retail conference at Dublin's Mansion House, Frank Gleeson, chief operating officer of Aramark Northen Europe, said the new store would include a Poulet Bonne Femme rotisserie chicken outlet, as well as several other "niche, artisan" food service brands.
Poulet Bonne Femme operates at a handful of other Avoca stores, including Monkstown and Rathcoole, and had a relationship with the retailer prior to Aramark’s buyout. It recently broadened its partnership with the multinational with a Poulet outlet in Dundrum town centre.
The Dunboyne Avoca will target a communter hinterland including Meath, Kildare and west Dublin, Mr Gleeson said. It will be located across a single storey on the converted site of the old Plantagen garden centre, with a vast car park.
Mr Gleeson said the site would maintain the proportion of other major Avoca stores of one-third of its floorspace devoted to sit-down foodservice, one-third for food retail sales, and one-third luxury goods and textiles retail.
Discussions are ongoing within Aramark and Avoca about how best to deploy the Avoca brand within the parent group’s network of high-end corporate catering clients, Mr Gleeson said.
“But nothing has been decided yet. We will be careful with the brand,” he said.
He added that Aramark deployed “a hint of Avoca” – or aspects of its operation – at a cafe in its Guinness Storehouse operation, but not the brand itself.
He told the conference that Avoca still plans to enter the UK market. Simon Pratt, who has remained on to run Avoca under Aramark's ownership, has previously said it would open stores and a bakery in a cluster around London.
Mr Gleeson said it also remained interested in the US market that is home to its parent group, but that it was “not in a big hurry”.