Healthy casual food chain Freshii is to more than double in size over the next four years as part of an ambitious expansion plan.
There are 13 outlets dotted across the country with a further 17 to come, predominantly in Dublin.
Fresh Life Foods (FLF), which owns the master franchise for Ireland, will invest €4m in helping new franchisees set up stores. FLF owns three of the 13 stores – at Mespil Road, the CHQ Building, and Dame Street, all in Dublin.
Dave O’Donoghue, the FLF chief executive, said that the cost of opening a store ranged from €180,000 to €250,000.
“We’ve opened three this year, we’ve visibility of a further three next year, and we’re just hoping that new sites will become available to us that suit the demographic,” he said. “Finding locations is easily the biggest challenge to our growth and it has gotten more difficult over the last 12 months.”
O’Donoghue, who was previously the chief executive of Cuisine de France in Ireland and the UK, said that he was determined to ensure the Freshii brand did not become too diluted.
“When we made the plan we said we didn’t want this everywhere, we could have this in a lot more outlets than we already have,” he said.
“We wanted to keep Freshii special as it’s a destination, and we didn’t want to have mini-Freshiis in a load of convenience stores because I went down that route with Cuisine de France and what happens over a decade is you become ubiquitous.
“So your fresh products become associated with healthy food, but your brand isn’t resonating with the consumer.”
The company also has an agreement with forecourt retailer Applegreen, and opened concession stores in Lusk and Portlaoise last year.
O’Donoghue also hit out at the rising cost of living in Dublin, and said he had lost managers to evictions.
Freshii is a global brand that was founded in 2005 by current chief executive Matthew Corrin. The Toronto-listed business aims to make healthy food affordable.
Sunday Indo Business