Northern Irish coffee shop chain Bob & Berts bags £2m to open 30 more stores

Once opened the new stores will create up to 600 new full time and part time jobs in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland

Bob & Berts, a Northern Irish coffee shop chain, has raised £2m in a funding round led by BGF – which it will use to open up 30 more stores.

Founded in Portstewart by Colin McClean, his father Arnold and brother-in-law David Ferguson, the trio currently have 16 coffee shops across Northern Ireland – including Coleraine, Portstewart, Stranmillis, Lisburn, Omagh and Dungannon.

Operating via a franchise model, Bob & Berts sells high quality artisan coffee and traybakes, as well as breakfast, lunch and evening meals.

Once opened the new proposed stores in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland will create up to 600 new full time and part time jobs.

As part of its investment, industry expert Mohan Mansigani will be joining the board of Bob & Berts as the company’s non-executive chair, while Gemma Hamilton, an investor from BGF’s Northern Ireland team, will also take up a role on the board.

Bob & Berts is the third business in Northern Ireland to secure funding from BGF’s £2.5bn pot following its investments in housebuilder Braidwater and waste management experts RiverRidge.

BGF makes long-term investments and holds non-controlling stakes in the companies it supports.

McClean said:

“The business is growing quickly and we are ambitious to take the next step. We have successfully opened ten new stores in the last two years and are looking to open a further 30 over the next four 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.

“Fundamental to our growth plans will be maintaining the culture and the ethos which has made Bob & Berts a hit with our customers.”

Ferguson said:

“When we first set up Bob & Berts, we wanted to offer something different to large multi-national coffee chains. Our branding, food selection and interior design sets us apart from our competition and we believe that we have created an environment which encourages people to relax.

“All of our new cafes will be created with this culture in mind.”

Patrick Graham, head of BGF’s Northern Ireland and Central Scotland team, said:

“We are excited to begin working with Colin and David who, in a short period, have successfully developed a strong brand with significant growth potential.

“This investment, along with the introduction of Mohan, who brings a wealth of experience to the company, will help unlock their desire and drive to expand significantly in the coming years and we look forward to partnering with the business for this journey.”

“BGF continues to have a strong focus on Northern Ireland as we believe our long term, minority approach fits well with business owners here. Bob & Berts represents our third investment here over the last 18 months and we continue to see a strong pipeline of quality opportunities.

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

Dreaming of starting your own café or coffee shop? Read our start-up guide here.