Three Scottish towns set to get new Bob & Berts outlets

A Northern Irish independent food and coffee shop chain is continuing its expansion in Scotland by opening three stores – as it reiterates its aim to have 20 outlets and about 400 staff north of the Border by 2022.

The business was set up in 2013 and is now on track for turnover of £8m. Picture: Elaine Hill Photography.

Bob & Berts, which is already present in Falkirk, Dunfermline and Dumfries, will open up in Kirkcaldy, Ayr and Stirling this year and is “actively” looking at additional sites in Scotland.

The chain said that fuelled by long-term investment from BGF (Business Growth Fund), it is building on its strategy of expanding across local market towns, with an offering of “quality food and drink, local community focus and relaxed style”.

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It is also committed to supporting high-street renewal.

The growth comes after the company in August 2017 raised £2 million of patient capital from BGF – billed as the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses – to fund its entry into Scotland and support further growth in Northern Ireland, where it was established in 2013.

Bob & Berts founder Colin McClean said: “We are very pleased with the performance of our stores in Scotland, which has reinforced our belief that there is demand for high-quality, independent food and coffee shops in traditional high-street settings.

“Our aim has always been to offer something different to the large coffee chains – in terms of branding, food selection and interior design. We are committed to supporting the renewal of high streets through quality businesses that help them remain vibrant social hubs.

“We have created a friendly environment to encourage people to relax, close to where they live – and look forward to taking this culture into Kirkcaldy, Ayr and Stirling in 2019.”

The firm is on track to deliver turnover of £8m.

BGF investor and Bob & Berts board member Gemma Hamilton said: “Over the last few years, Bob & Berts has developed a strong identity and quality offering for its growing customer base, setting itself apart in a competitive market. The expansion of the business across Northern Ireland and Scotland is a real testament to the culture and philosophy that is winning over high-street customers. As a long-term investor, BGF is delighted to be supporting the team on their continued growth journey.”

BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested about £2 billion in more than 270 companies – currently averaging one a week – “making it the most active investor in the UK and globally by number of transactions”.

It has £2.5bn to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises. Earlier this year, Canada launched its equivalent – the Canadian Business Growth Fund – based on BGF’s funding model, and Australia is now exploring the approach.

BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner “with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs”.

Firms in Scotland to have received BGF investing include Keenan Recycling, Aberdeen-headquartered optical business Duncan & Todd Group, and Aberdeenshire pipeline technology specialist Stats Group.