Irish coffee shop chain Insomnia says recession-busting deals linking coffee and baked goods are driving sales, with over half its business now coming from promotions. It plans to continue the tactic throughout 2009.

The Dublin-based 52-shop chain has run a series of successful discounts and ’meal deals’ since the onset of the recession, with promotional activity now accounting for 55% of sales and helping to drive up footfall by 5%, according to CEO Bobby Kerr.

"Our muffin and a coffee promotion for E3 (£2.57) saw us selling 20,000 muffins a week and we’re planning to introduce a new cinnamon bun at the discounted price of E1.50 (£1.29)," he told British Baker. Other successful promotions include any scone or pastry with a coffee for E3.50 (£3) and any sandwich with a coffee for E5 (£4.29). "We were first out of the block with these kinds of deals in September and they have become so successful that the difficulty will be in dropping them," said Kerr.

Insomnia outsourced sandwich production in January to Newry-based firm Around Noon. Sweet bakery comes from Dublin-based Soul Food and Cuisine de France. The company, which turned over E12.1m (£10.4m) in 2008 and employs 190 people, plans to open another two high street shops this year and has managed to renegotiate an average rent reduction of 15% across 20 of its 32 leases.

It also aims to extend its tie-up with Spar, opening five more barista-led franchise operations to make a total of 25 and adding a further 20 self-serve bean-to-cup machines to Spar stores by the year-end. Around 70 Spar stores already have the machines.