Northern family-owned coffee chain to venture south

Plan is to open 30 new Bob & Berts outlets and create 600 jobs

Bob & Berts has 16 outlets in the North

Bob & Berts has 16 outlets in the North

 

An independent, family-owned Northern coffee-shop chain is expanding its business to the South and Scotland after securing a £2 million (€2.16 million) equity investment to fund 30 new stores and create up to 600 jobs.

The UK’s Business Growth Fund, 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 fund, 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 first store was opened in Portstewart, Co Derry, by Colin McClean; his father, Arnold; and David Ferguson.

Mr Ferguson said their aim was to offer “something different to large multinational coffee chains”.

He believes their “local community” approach has created a place for people to relax and enjoy its coffee and food 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 just the past two years.

“Working with [Business Growth Fund] 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.

Investment

As part of the equity investment deal with Business Growth Fund, Mohan Mansigani, a hospitality industry expert who helped shape the growth model for Costa Coffee, will join the board of Bob & Berts as nonexecutive chairman. Gemma Hamilton, an investor from the fund’s Northern Irish team, will also join the board of Bob & Berts.

Patrick Graham, head of Business Growth Fund’s team for Northern Ireland central Scotland, said the organisation 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.”