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NI coffee shop chain Bob & Berts reveals plans to open six more stores as it marks a decade in operation

NI coffee shop chain Bob & Berts reveals plans to open six more stores as it marks a decade in operation

The expansion will bring the company’s total presence, founded by former teacher Colin McClean, to more than 30 locations across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The stores can be found in units of 2,500 to 4,000 square meters in high streets, shopping centers and coastal towns.

Since opening its first store in Portstewart, it now has 15 stores in NI, six in Scotland and five in England. Almost 800 employees work there.

It now plans to open in Glasgow and Blackpool, bringing the total network to 28.

And a further four locations have been identified for the North West of England and Yorkshire, with the hope of opening those locations by the end of the year.

The company’s growth is reflected in its financial results, which showed revenue growth to £17.8 million and an operating profit of £1.3 million.

Mr McClean, who taught at a private school in England before venturing into the cafe business, said: “June marks 10 years since I opened the doors of the first Bob & Berts in Portstewart and I think it’s a real sign of the quality of what the company and our employees offer customers, that we will open our 30th store in 2023. We are also eager to further expand our business in our already established regions.

CEO David Ferguson said the company had emerged from the pandemic strong after adjusting its business model to include delivery and strengthen its sit-in offering.

“Like all hospitality businesses, we are impacted by the challenges facing the economy, such as food and beverage inflation and rising energy costs, but we have strong relationships with our suppliers and we are well placed to manage these cost increases and continue our expansion plans .”

Bob & Berts’ expansion was fueled by a £2 million investment in 2017 by investment firm BGF.

Mr McClean worked as a teacher for five years and also opened a clothing store in Leeds. But he was inspired to take a new direction on a visit home.

“I came back to the north coast at Easter and was amazed at how beautiful it was, standing on the promenade in Portstewart and looking out to sea. I said to my wife, ‘This is the chance to come back to NI and do something.’”

They came home and Mr. McClean opened a bakery in Portstewart, before expanding to three other coffee shops. He brought the whole package together in Bob & Berts.

“I loved teaching and I loved the holidays too which is one of the biggest things I miss about it as my summers are very busy at the Portrush and Portstewart stores now.”

Read more: ‘I taught in a private school in England before building a cafe empire’: Colin McClean of Bob & Berts

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