Belfast Telegraph

Awarding-winning Yellow Door opens latest venture

By Lesley Houston

A growing family-run food empire is creating 20 jobs in a new venture as part of the latest expansion of an award-winning brand.

A new Yellow Door restaurant is occupying part of the former Fultons furniture shop at Balmoral Plaza on Boucher Road, now occupied by Belfast Furniture Mall.

The new eatery aims to introduce the latest trend to foodies, offering a California-style experience of plate-sharing and family-friendly dining.

Yellow Door has a number of delicatessen outlets, restaurants, a bakery and line of artisan breads, plus a growing outside catering business with an expected annual turnover this year of £5m.

It was founded in Co Armagh in 1992 by chef Simon Dougan with a fine dining restaurant in Gilford and has branched out into the other arms of the food industry and now employs close to 150 in full and part-time positions.

Yellow Door director Andrew Dougan revealed the company also recently won a contract with the potential to produce more than half-a-million bread items and tray bakes a year for a firm supplying Dublin airport and hospitals.

Mr Dougan said one of the keys to success lies in a firm ethos of using quality Northern Ireland produce.

"Yellow Door aims to be at the heart of the community with a strong farm-to-table focus, and an emphasis on exceptionally flavoursome, seasonal food, cooked and presented in a variety of exciting dishes to match today's evolving palettes." he said.

Commenting on the expansion, Andrew said the firm has regained most of the ground lost during the recession, adding that the catering business, which plunged by 80%, was now back up to pre-recession levels.

"We always had faith in the Yellow Door brand and not only managed to keep going and absorb the loss, but even expanded the company during that time," he said.

The company's wedding catering business is also expected to grow by 10% this year.

Yellow Door was recently named the first-ever winner of the Deli Signature Dish in the nationwide Great Taste Awards 2013, organised by the Guild of Fine Foods.

Recipes in Simon's Yellow Door Cookery Book include deli favourites such as breads, brownies and salads.

The store, which housed luxury furniture retailer Fultons, has reopened under a new name by an English consortium in their first Northern Ireland venture.

The building – home to Fultons until the family business collapsed in 2012 – has been rebranded Belfast Furniture Mall in a new lease with the owners of the building.

Belfast Telegraph