Shane Francis

The Connemara Pie Company


The Connemara Pie Company is one of those brand names that sounds as if it has been around forever, but in fact it’s fresh out of the oven.

“I had a background in restaurants and saw a niche in the market for a fixed-price, high-quality product for the food service industry,” says founder Shane Francis. Food service includes everything from cafes and restaurants to pubs and clubs, anywhere food is served.

“The problem facing the sector is a lack of skills in the kitchens, whereas our products are supplied ready to be reheated.”

Before setting up the company last year Francis spent 18 months researching the Irish and European food service markets. “I found that 80 per cent of the food that is brought into restaurants and pubs in Germany and France, for example, comes in frozen and is reheated.”

He commissioned a feasibility study to see if he could get a piece of that pie for himself. The findings looked good enough to move into recipe development, working with partner Ross Quinn of Vasco Restaurant in Fanore, Co Clare. The result is five premium pies, including a duck, juniper berry and pear cider pie, and a smoked salmon with cream cheese and rocket one. “We launched in France and Germany last October and are selling into golf clubs, restaurants and hotels at home, too,” says Francis.

The company is already on track to sell 5,000 pies a week for the rest of this year. It’s just as well, he says: “I’ve put my communion money into this.”