Irish sandwich and coffee chain O’Briens has revealed it will make its first foray across the Atlantic with the roll-out of a franchise operation in Canada.

Retail and operations director Andrew Moyes said that the firm, which has an international presence in Singapore, Australia and China among other countries, is also set to build up a cluster of stores in central Europe.

He told British Baker: "Our plan is to have two Canadian shops open by spring next year. Canada is a vast country, so there are huge opportunities. We’re also looking to go into Belgium and France to get a continental European cluster of shops.

"Our Irishness is a big strength when we’re trading outside Ireland," he added, "and the made- to-order model, along with the speed of service, provides a compelling proposition."

Moyes also revealed that the chain’s turnover was up by around 10% year-on-year and that its booming outside catering business now accounts for up to 50% of inner-city store turnover. "Some operators have two or three refrigerated vans, and we have a very strong business with outside catering. That, I think, makes our operation quite unique," he said.

O’Briens will also introduce a party menu this autumn for private functions, weddings and christenings. "This gives the franchisees a huge opportunity to increase their sales beyond the retail offer. We can also attract customers into our stores through cross-marketing," said Moyes.