Esquires Coffee Houses is to expand its Irish franchisee network by opening three new cafes in Dublin, Cork and Naas in County Kildare by the end of 2008.

Irish Master Franchisee Tony McVerry said: “Esquires is now well positioned in Ireland to maximise growth opportunities by targeting traditional high street locations, shopping centres and business parks.”

Founded in Canada in the 1990s, Esquires took that country’s “suburban coffee house” concept and grew into an international franchise business. It has 20 stores in the UK, with more to open in the coming months, and a presence in North America and New Zealand as well as Ireland.

Managing Director Peter Kirton said the company’s emphasis is on “the quality of our stores rather than the sheer number we have”. He added: “We pride ourselves on our commitment to community spirit, and we look to recruit franchisees with local knowledge and the ability to apply the Esquires values with their individual areas in mind.”

In 2007 it started to offer Fairtrade coffee as standard, with further products available in its growing Fairtrade range.