Patisserie Valerie is looking at sites in Dublin and Limerick
Patisserie Valerie, the UK pastry chain, is looking at buying sites in Dublin and Limerick as the company moves into Ireland.
Property company Javelin was hired to find sites for potential new openings and has identified 250 across Ireland and the UK.
The cafe chain, whose parent Patisserie Holdings floated on London's AIM last May, will open its first outlet in Belfast on Donegall Square West at the end of the summer as a prelude to moving into the Republic.
The Belfast outlet, which will hire 20 people, will have a large kitchen facility in its basement capable of supplying ten cafes with baked goods.
Patisserie Valerie specialises in hand-made cakes, continental breakfasts, lunches and teas and coffees. It also makes bespoke celebration cakes, including wedding cakes.
Its foray into Ireland will be Patisserie Valerie's international debut.
Chief executive Paul May, the founder of payday loans company The Money Shop, wants to treble its stores, from 109 to around 300.
The company generally buys rather than rents the buildings that house its outlets. It also avoids outsourcing, making its food in-house and using its own distribution system rather than outsourcing to delivery companies.
Its first cafe was at Frith Street in London's Soho in 1926, run by Belgian born Madam Valerie.
She moved to London on a mission to introduce continental patisserie to the English.
The premises was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, but the company survived.
It was bought by serial entrepreneur and former Pizza Express chairman Luke Johnson's Risk Capital Partners for stg£6m (€8.4m) in 2006.
Patisserie Holdings also operates Drucker's Vienna Patisserie, sandwich chain Philpotts, Baker and Spice and Flower Power City Bakery in the UK.
Johnson floated the business last year. The IPO valued the business at around stg£170m, although the company's value has almost doubled since then.
Johnson later offloaded part of his stake in the cafe and cake chain for stg£12.6m. He sold roughly 4m shares at 312p a piece.
The company saw a 26.8pc increase in 2014 profits. Pre-tax profit rose to £10.4m for the 12 months to September 30 2014 from stg£8.2m, on sales of stg£76.6m.
Patisserie Valerie is not the only British pastry chain coming to Ireland. Sausage roll maker Greggs is also launching here as part of a partnership with petrol station chain Applegreen.
Greggs is the UK's largest bakery chain and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Sunday Indo Business