Caffe Nero eyes up further expansion in Northern Ireland
Coffee chain Caffe Nero is eyeing up three new locations around Belfast as it continues to expand across Northern Ireland, it can be revealed.
It now has around two dozen outlets in Northern Ireland.
And less than a decade after opening up its first location in Belfast, it's still planning more stores for the city.
It's understood it is looking for new spots in the Lisburn Road and Ormeau Road areas in south Belfast as it expands its reach outside the city centre.
It's also believed Caffe Nero could open a new shop close to the Waterfront Hall.
The Waterfront Hall has expanded considerably over the last year, after unveiling its new £29m extension and conference facility.
Caffe Nero is one of the fastest growing UK-owned coffee businesses here, growing from a handful of stores to more than 20.
And it has a dozen stores in Belfast alone. That includes the former Delaney's cafe, Fountain Street, and one in House of Fraser.
Caffe Nero opened several new locations this year, including one at Royal Avenue in the heart of the city.
It also opened a shop at Ballyhackamore in the east of the city.
No one from Caffe Nero was able to comment.
But Northern Ireland's home-grown coffee businesses are also continuing to expand throughout the city.
Ground Espresso employs more than 200 staff across 17 stand-alone stores and concessions across Ireland.
It now employs around 200 staff, and added more than a dozen to its workforce back in September when it launched its Magherafelt store.
Clements now has 10 shops scattered across Belfast, with several others elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
In June, Caffe Nero took on a business once owned by supermarket giant Tesco.
The retailer announced it plans to sell UK coffee chain Harris and Hoole to Caffe Nero.
Caffe Nero is now worth around £230m across its UK business.
It started off life in 1997, after it was founded by Gerry Ford.
It now boasts more than 700 coffee shops across the world, and is based throughout the UK, Ireland and as far afield as the US.
The number of coffee shops currently operated worldwide by the Caffe Nero chain