Wetherspoon is set to wage war with breakfast price cuts
Tim Martin, the Northern Ireland-born founder of bar chain Wetherspoon, will this week unleash a coffee and breakfast price war on the High Street.
From tomorrow he is slashing the price of Lavazza coffee with free refills in 880 pubs to 99p or less in a bid to treble sales.
Wetherspoon currently operates nine pubs across Northern Ireland but plans to open two more in Belfast's Royal Avenue and University Road.
Mr Martin , a past pupil of Campbell College, said: "If you switched from a leading high street chain where two cappuccinos a day would cost you a fiver to Wetherspoon where two coffees will cost you less than a pound you would save a enough money in a year for a holiday in St Lucia."
Wetherspoon sells 50 million coffees and serves 24 million breakfasts a year. Mr Martin says he wants those sales to treble within 18 months.
He admits doing that profitably will depend on pushing sales up quickly.
"But we can make an honest buck," he said. "There is a huge market for coffee and breakfast.
"We have large premises with better facilities than any coffee shop chain and we're by no means full first thing in the morning."
Wetherspoon's first half profit dropped 1% to £37.5m despite sales rising 9% to £744m, which Mr Martin blamed on higher staff costs. He also warned it would be tough to improve on last year's strong second half of the year.