First established in Belfast in 1999, the streat has become a franchise success with over 70 locations now operating in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

The café franchise was founded by husband and wife team Michael and Nikki McQuillan, who opened their first streat café on Belfast’s Dublin Road. Since then the company has become a well-known brand within the café franchise sector and has won several awards and accolades, including being named Best Franchise Ireland in 2010 at The Irish Franchise Association Awards. the streat also became the very first franchisor to win The UK National Training Awards twice, in 2003 and in 2006.

Barry Kelly, the streat’s Business Development Manager, said: “The café sector has, for many years, been recognised as a growth market and the café franchising sector is recognised as a safer way of opening your own café business. It is my belief that franchising in Ireland is still a concept that has not, as yet, been tapped into fully and, in conjunction with a quality franchised brand, provides an excellent opportunity for self employment.”

According to the company, its innovative and sustainable business model, coupled with the delivery of fresh, deli prepared food and its unique blend of coffee, are just some of the many aspects that make the streat an attractive franchise opportunity.

Kelly added: “Flexibility within the brand is key and we have the ability to adapt the model to operate in sizes from 50sq.m to 180sq.m, extending the menu offering to suit the location. With the potential of an increased hot food offer and the ability to create freshly baked off breads and treats, the streat menu has never been more attractive to our customers.”

Potential franchise owners do not have to have previous experience in the catering or hospitality industry, but Kelly said: “What you do require is an intense passion for people, compliemented with the confidence and energy to identify and deliver great customer service.

“It is also important that a streat franchise owner is fully operational in their own business, maintaining the high standards set and expected by the streat. It is not good enough to invest in a hospitality-based franchise then take a back seat. Franchise owners need to work on and in their own cafes.”

the streat has also launched a series of initiatives to make it even easier to open a streat café. Kelly said: “We have reduced our overall investment costs, working closely with contractors to ensure a more efficient fit-out solution. Investment starts from circa £30,000 (€35,000) with the larger format streat café now requiring about £100,000 (€116,000) of investment. Included in this is our reduced Franchise Licence Fee of £17,00 (€20,500) and it does not stop there.

“Once up and running, streat franchise owners can benefit from an innovative franchise owner compliance rebate giving them the opportunity to get up to 30 per cent of their management fees paid back annually. This can be very lucrative and assists the franchise owner to get all of the benefits of working within the proven business model.”

the streat is also looking to attract existing café operators throughout Ireland who would like to join the growing café network. Kelly added: “We have developed a café transfer programme which will assess each existing business and location, working with each operator to facilitate the move from independent operator to streat branded café business.”