Sandwich chain O'Briens eyes UK expansion

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Irish sandwich bar chain O'Briens is eyeing acquisitions in the UK to help it hit its target of doubling in size over the next five years.

The Irish sandwich bar chain O'Briens is eyeing acquisitions in the UK to help it hit its target of doubling in size over the next five years.

The group wants to open about 250 stores around the world, although it intends to concentrate its efforts in the UK. Although the vast majority of its existing 270 outlets are operated by franchisees, the chief executive Brody Sweeney said the group was keen to buy up small chains in the UK.

"We are looking for sandwich chains of around 20 to 40 stores," he said. "Our absolute priority is to be brand leader in the UK. We have more outlets than Pret a Manger but their business is quite a bit bigger than ours."

The group is spending £350,000 on re-branding all its shops in the UK to take on coffee shop operators such as Caffe Nero and Coffee Republic. It is dropping its Irish tagline and re-christening itself O'Briens Hand Cut Sandwich and Gourmet Coffee.

The company has outlets in 13 countries, and recently moved into Spain, South Africa and the Netherlands. It has 40 sites outside Ireland and the UK.

"Thanks to a franchising business model now firmly established in Asia, O'Briens' popularity as an international lifestyle café is flourishing," Mr Sweeney said. Since launching O'Briens in 1988, the company has established a business with €100m (£70m) a year in turnover.

Mr Sweeney's vision is to create the first "fast food chain that sells food that is actually good for you".

Comments