Bob & Berts coffee chain set to expand to Republic and Scotland

Northern Irish chain aims to open 30 new stores and create up to 600 jobs

Bob & Berts currently has 16 stores in Northern Ireland

Bob & Berts currently has 16 stores in Northern Ireland


An independent, family owned Northern Ireland coffee shop chain is expanding its business to the Republic and Scotland after securing a £2 million (€2.18 million) equity investment to fund 30 new stores and create up to 600 jobs.

The UK’s Business Growth Fund (BGF), which is supported by five of the UK’s main banks, has confirmed it is backing the Bob & Berts coffee chain in the North.

It will be the third major investment in Northern Ireland by the BGF which to date has invested £20 million in its local portfolio which includes RiverRidge Recycling and Derry based housebuilder Braidwater.

Bob & Berts currently has 16 stores in the North.

The chain opened its first store in Portstewart by Colin McClean, his father Arnold and David Ferguson. Mr Ferguson said their aim was to offer “something different to large multinational coffee chains”.

Community approach

He believes their “local community” approach has created a place for people to relax and enjoy its artisan coffee and food offering from breakfast through to evening.

His co-owner and brother in law, Colin McClean, said the business has grown quickly with 10 new stores added in the last two years.

“Working with BGF will enable us to accelerate our growth plans and we are now actively looking at sites in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland,” he added.

As part of the equity investment deal with BGF, a hospitality industry expert who helped shape the growth model for Costa Coffee, Mohan Mansigani will join the board of Bob & Berts as the company’s non-executive chair. Gemma Hamilton, an investor from BGF’s Northern Ireland team, will also join the board of Bob & Berts.

Patrick Graham, head of BGF’s Northern Ireland and Central Scotland team said the organization sees “a strong pipeline of quality opportunities in the North”.

“As a result, we hope to continue growing our level of investment into Northern Irish businesses over the coming months and years,” he added.