Style, Substance, SUCCESS
Stunning coffee has long been a hallmark of the Esquires product offering, which is something Kealan was keen to extend in his Drogheda location. “At Esquires, our main aim is serving that perfect cup of coffee combined with the freshest locally sourced produce,” he says.
“Relax with the daily papers and our professional ‘baristas’ will take care of the rest. We always strive to provide our customers with excellent customer service.”
Today Kealan provides exactly that for hundreds of loyal customers everyday in Drogheda, however it all started with just a fragment of an idea.
A THING OF BEAUTY
Before that pivotal day in Kealan’s life when he discovered the Esquires franchise offering, he had been involved in a number of businesses and always fancied trying his hand as the owner of a premium coffee house. However, knowing how competitive the food and beverage sector can be, he soon realised franchising was the best way forward.
He continues: “As luck would have it, I came across a beautiful old Bank building that had been lying dormant for a number of years in Drogheda and immediately I realised the potential it offered. The old Bank building, like many Bank branches today, had been totally modernised and was unrecognisable from what it had looked like in its prime.”
Kealan immediately grasped the opportunity with both hands and took out a lease on the breath-taking premises before he had even made a decision on what to do with it. “All of a sudden, it became very obvious that with no catering experience, the Franchise route was the only route to go down.”
It was shortly afterwards Kealan crossed paths with Esquires and began visiting a number of their stores and speaking to some extremely happy franchise owners.
Kealan explains: “I liked what I saw of the operation and was impressed with the ambience in the different stores. Initially, I met the Master Franchisee, Tony McVerry, and felt he was a person I could work with and trust, which is very important. He explained that to become a franchise owner, no previous background or experience in catering was necessary as Esquires would do all the training with both the franchise owner and staff, just a willingness to work hard, a love of the business and a dedication to excellent customer service.”
He was immediately impressed with the lengths Esquires were willing to go for him and the relationship that he soon developed with Tony McVerry. “One thing I have learned about franchising is it’s very much a partnership between the franchisor and franchise owner,” he says. “Everyone has got to work with each other for each other and that’s the way is has been from day one.”
Tony and the Esquires Ireland team immediately saw the potential in Kealan’s building in Drogheda and during a meeting at the site it was agreed that a full renovation to restore the unit to the majesty of its heyday was of absolute priority.
“Esquires designs each store to its own individuality,” continues Kealan. “Despite the fact that there were two false ceilings in the building, we both knew that behind this modern facade there was bound to be some beautiful cornicing and coving and that the goal must be to bring the old Bank premises back to its former glory. Esquires then tasked their Designer to draw up plans to this effect. This necessitated bringing the whole building back to shell and core and starting all over again.”
The work that went in to making sure the premises was up to Esquires’ high standards was arduous. However, Esquires was on hand every step of the way to ensure Kealan never felt alone.
He explains: “I have to pay tribute to the professionalism of the whole Esquires team in guiding me through the lead up to opening, during and after. They took control of recruiting staff, they performed all the training, their operations people took control of setting up all the accounts, getting the best deals, doing all the ordering and stayed with us right through until we were happy to paddle our own canoe.”
Esquires prides itself on listening to its franchise owners to create bespoke franchised locations for each branch. In the case of Esquires Drogheda, the business has been a rip-roaring success: “The feedback we have got since we opened has been truly amazing, the coffee house looks incredible and our wonderful customers love to come in for a chat with the staff or to meet up with friends or family.
“I have to say I am very happy with the way things have gone for me. It’s been a total life change. Kealan’s concludes with some encouraging advice for those looking for a business in the food and beverage sector: “I would say to anyone who is considering getting in to the café business to strongly consider Esquires Coffee, they have a great product and are really good people to deal with.”