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Portstewart cafe chain Bob and Berts back on track for expansion

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Growth: Colin McClean

Growth: Colin McClean

Growth: Colin McClean

Northern Ireland cafe chain Bob and Berts has said it's progressing its expansion plans with new stores in Scotland and England despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which was founded in Portstewart in 2000, has reopened all of its 20 existing stores here and in Scotland and is now ready to expand its empire further.

Colin McClean, co-owner of Bob and Berts said: "All sites are now fully operational and stores are performing ahead of our expectations, which is really positive and shows people have missed what we offer."

The business has introduced a number of new innovations following the lockdown, including the launch of an online ordering service through its own app. The app also allows customers to order for collection.

Co-owner David Ferguson added: "Lockdown has given us confidence that we can deliver a takeaway service and we have seen the success of our app. We know there may be more twists and turns because of coronavirus but we're committed to delivering a great service in safe environments to our customers."

A new store in Stirling, Scotland that was originally scheduled to arrive in April is now expected to open in October.

The company said that it's still looking for additional sites in Northern Ireland and Scotland and expects to launch its first store in the north of England in the second part of 2021.

Bob and Berts is one of seven Northern Ireland-based companies to have received investment from BGF.

In 2017 BGF made a £2m equity investment into Bob and Berts to help drive the expansion of the busines.

BGF has backed 24 new companies in the first half of the year. In June, it invested £10m in Lisburn-based Decora, manufacturer of window coverings, to support its growth plans including expansion into the EU. Mzuri Holdings is now the owner of Decora and has announced the acquisition of Swift Direct Blinds in the UK and Coolblinds in the Netherlands.

Belfast Telegraph