Business Irish

Friday 29 August 2014

Jo'Burger doesn't make a meal out of expansion

Published 09/02/2014 | 02:30

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Joe Macken, John Roberts and Kevin Macken at Jo'Burger Town, Castle Market, Dublin 2
Joe Macken, John Roberts and Kevin Macken at Jo'Burger Town, Castle Market, Dublin 2

Founded in 2007 in Rathmines, Jo'Burger was an instant hit, winning The Dubliner restaurant of the year award in 2009 and the Wine and Drink X-Factor award.

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The recession meant hard times in 2009 but this afforded the opportunity to create a new team for 2010 and the company forged ahead to grow the business from a single full-service restaurant to a group of six restaurants, five in Dublin city centre. Turnover and employment has grown almost eight-fold during what has been a challenging economic period – with expansion fully funded from cashflow.

Group restaurant Crackbird captured the zeitgeist of 2011 and was launched initially as a "pop-up" before settling permanently on Dame Street. Skinflint followed in late 2011 with its excellent pizza dishes served in surroundings based on an inspired decor.

Bear was created together with Irish rugby star Jamie Heaslip in 2012. It's an old-school grill, which offers a wide variety of steak cuts for the discerning beef lover.

The Jo'Burger eateries serve up different dishes, but they are all based on the same ethos – locally sourced, freshly produced ingredients. All Jo'Burger concepts are based in the fast growing, fast-casual segment of the market. This sector is growing strongly in Ireland as social behaviour gravitates away from the pub. A third Jo'Burger outlet will soon open in Smithfield, with the addition of another 15 to 20 jobs.

Jo'Burger is actively seeking investment partnerships to expand into the UK and beyond.

Neil Hughes

Managing Partner, Hughes Blake

Jo'Burger is an outstanding entrepreneurial business that effectively dealt with challenges they faced as a result of the recession. They took the steps necessary to put the business on a strong footing for future growth by entering the examinership process in 2009. With a new team in place, the company has gone from strength to strength since that time, adding five restaurants to the group.

With recent changes to legislation making restructuring more affordable and available, other SMEs should embrace the remarkable "survive and thrive" spirit shown by the Jo'Burger team – a firm that has gone from 10 to over 100 employees in four years.

Alma O'Brien

Tax Partner, Hughes Blake

In a post-recession environment of low margins and tough competition, it is key that your business structure is fit for purpose, both from a commercial and a taxation point of view.

Using a group structure, such as Jo'Burger does, with separate subsidiary companies, facilitates inter-group financing and offers benefits afforded to tax groups.

In the restaurant business, a group structure is ideal for opening up new outlets in and for the disposal of existing outlets in a tax-efficient manner by availing of capital gains tax relief for holding companies.

Maximising allowable tax deductions each year is also important.

Stephen McGivern

Corporate Finance Partner, Hughes Blake

The new norm for Irish business is a trading landscape of little or no bank funding. For this reason, it is critical for entrepreneurial businesses such as Jo'Burger to look at alternative funding sources.

In addition to self-funding other options can include private investors, trade investors from both Ireland and the UK, specialist funds and family offices.

In recent months we are seeing more activity with both individuals and companies looking for investment opportunities. Companies like Jo'Burger are attractive because it has a good brand with an experienced management team.

Kieran McCarthy

Partner, Business Advisory

Services, Hughes Blake

Medium-sized businesses benefit from being able to tap into the experience and insight of independent trusted business advisers. This gives the management team additional expertise to draw on and ensures that they do not have to make critical decisions in isolation.

We work closely with management teams, ensuring that we understand and know the business as well as they do. This allows us to add value at critical junctures over the course of the year, challenging and supporting the management team as required to help ensure that the business remains on track for long-term growth.

Irish Independent

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