Forwards with franchises!

With an established brand name, research and support behind any independent retailer, achieving growth naturally becomes a much less risky endeavour. Here, we highlight innovative franchise brands driving expansion within Ireland’s competitive foodservice sector today


Brand Central

2 October 2023

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For those who have always dreamed of opening their own business, but without the same degree of risk typically associated with new enterprises, buying a franchise can be the absolutely ideal option. As NI Business Info points out, buying a franchise can be a quick way to set up your own business without starting from scratch.

Firstly, as the business is based on a proven idea, you can check how successful other franchises are before committing yourself. The brands outlined on these pages have a wide presence throughout Ireland, allowing interested parties to easily visit nearby branches for themselves to get an initial understanding of whether the business would align with their objectives. What’s more, the brands outlined here, and their product offerings, have all already established a market share so there is no need for market testing, which is a huge saving in itself.

Of course, franchisees also have the advantage of being able to use a recognised brand name and trademark, and subsequently benefit from any advertising or promotion by the franchisor.

Furthermore, the franchisor also provides support which can prove hugely valuable, particularly in the early days. This usually comes as a complete package including training, help setting up the business, a manual telling you how to run the business and ongoing advice. With a franchise, it can also be considerably easier for a small business to compete with established brands within Ireland’s competitive foodservice sector, due to the pool of support from the franchisor and network of other franchisees.

Read on to learn more about the franchise opportunities currently available in Ireland with forward-thinking brands that are whetting the nation’s appetites for further expansion.

AIL Group


Number of outlets: Over 100 locations in Ireland

Headquarters: Rathmines, Dublin

Established: 1982

Offering: Abrakebabra, O’Briens Café, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) and Bagel Factory

Brand story

Abrakebabra: ‘Discover Magic Food’

Abrakebabra has been creating bold, flavourful food for over 40 years

Opening its doors for the first time in Rathmines, Dublin in 1982, Abrakebabra is one of Ireland’s leading quick service restaurants known for its magical range of Kebabs, Loaded Fries, Burgers, Baguettes and more.

From classics such as the Doner Kebab and Taco Fries to newer innovations like Loaded Fries and Flatbread Kebabs, Abrakebabra has been creating bold, flavourful food for over 40 years.



O’Briens: ‘Handcrafted for You’

O’Briens is famous for its menu of handcrafted made-to-order signature sandwiches

Established in 1988, O’Briens Irish Sandwich Cafe is an iconic Irish brand with over 100 locations across Ireland, Middle East and Asia. O’Briens’ renowned reputation has been shaped by its famous menu of handcrafted made-to-order signature sandwiches – TripleDeckers, Toasties and Shambos.

The brand’s extensive offering also includes a range of seasonal soups, signature salads, breakfast, barista espresso coffee, speciality teas, frappes and a wide selection of freshly baked treats, scones, muffins and patisseries.



Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK): ‘Best Burger in Town’

Back in 2001, three Kiwis from New Zealand, along with world renowned chef Peter Gordon established the very first GBK location in London changing the burger scene forever.

GBK’s hand-crafted chargrilled burgers use 100% Irish prime beef

Today Gourmet Burger Kitchen continues to grow with five unique restaurants across Leinster.

GBK still prides itself on serving up a signature variety of hand-crafted chargrilled burgers, using 100% Irish prime beef with the freshest ingredients and sauces made from scratch every day in each kitchen.



Bagel Factory: ‘All Round Goodness’

Founded in 1997, Bagel Factory’s extensive menu features many popular bagels, including instant favourites like the All Day Eggworks, Chicken Caesar, Stars N Stripes and Turkey Club served on a selection of all natural bagel varieties.

Bagel Factory offers an extensive menu of fillings served on a choice of natural bagel varieties

The Bagel Factory range also includes barista-style coffee, freshly made juices, delicious soups, and a choice of sweet treats.



Brand future

This year, each of AIL Group’s brands continue to grow and increase their category market share. The company is continuing to open new locations, tailoring each location with solutions that meet the needs of the local consumer. AIL Group is always developing new products and concepts that resonate with customers and reliable production methods to keep operations efficient. AIL Group continues to support its network of franchisees, partners and suppliers.

AIL Group’s brand Abrakebabra is marking four decades of successful business as it proudly inaugurates its new establishment on Grafton Street in Dublin later this month.

AIL Group reports it plans to continue to lead the way in restaurant franchising and looks forward to the next chapter in an incredible journey.


Zambrero Ireland


Number of outlets: 19

Headquarters: Sydney, Australia

Established: 2006 in Australia, 2016 in Ireland

Offering: Fresh, healthy, modern Mexican food

Wholesale partner: BWG

Zambrero: ‘Feel Good Mex’

Zambrero is Australia’s largest Mexican restaurant franchise. Globally, the brand has opened over 250 restaurants throughout Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, UK and America. Zambrero produces healthy Mexican inspired food which also helps stop world hunger. For every burrito or bowl purchased within any of its stores, Zambrero then donates a meal to someone in need. This is done through its ‘Plate 4 Plate’ initiative via distribution partners, Rise Against Hunger. It’s a win for your body, mind, soul and taste buds. Zambrero calls it ‘Feel Good Mex’.

Zambrero has the ambitious plan to donate 1 billion meals by 2025. Thanks to its customers, Zambrero has donated more than 70 million meals around the world since it was founded in 2005 by Dr Sam Prince. Since opening its first restaurant in Ireland in 2016, Zambrero Ireland now has 18 restaurants open across the country with some more additions due to the Zambrero network before the end of 2023.

Brand story

What started as one Mexican restaurant in Canberra Australia, Zambrero has grown into an international franchise that is more than just a restaurant. It not only serves fresh modern Mexican food, but it also gives customer the feel-good karma of donating a meal to someone in need with every purchase of a burrito or bowl through its Plate 4 Plate programme.

Brand future

Zambrero will continue to grow its franchise network in Ireland by engaging with enthusiastic and ambitious franchise partners. In addition, Zambrero International has very ambitious growth plans throughout America and the UK over the next 12-18 months.





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