A café barely six months old in Mullingar fights off the giants of food venues and becomes a finalist in the Retail Excellence Ireland Awards. That’s no small feat.
Esquires Coffee, a café in Harbour Place Shopping Centre, Mullingar was shortlisted as a finalist in the Retail Excellence Ireland Awards Store of the Year Award in the category of Best Restaurant and Coffee House. The award ceremony took place in Galway last weekend.
The Retail Excellence Ireland Awards are the largest, most prestigious and recognised event in the Irish Retail Industry calendar. The objective of the Awards is to recognise and reward retail stores, companies, websites, individuals and suppliers who deliver exemplary standards within the Irish retail industry. Esquires Coffee in Mullingar was a finalist in the category with a number of very successful and long standing brands including McDonald’s, Butlers Chocolate Cafes and Kay’s Kitchen in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
The finalists for the Best Restaurant & Café category were selected following a rigorous examination process involving mystery shopping, a store assessment audit process, a financial submission and of course a review on the overall look and feel of the store and how it services its client base. Fergal McGovern and Rhona O’Sullivan, Franchise owners of Esquires Coffee opened the Mullingar store in April this year.
Fergal explains, “We already have two successful cafés which are also part of the Esquires Coffee franchise in Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford. The unit in Harbour Shopping Centre had been empty for nearly 2 years when we took the decision to go for it and make something special out of it. We put a lot of work in the unit, the support and the distinctive branding of the Esquires Coffee franchise enabled the Designers to design a café to maintain spaciousness while also retaining a cosy café feel. We have over 5,000 feet which is fitted with a wide range of different comfortable seating areas including leather sofas, booths, banquettes and very relaxing comfortable tub chairs. We expanded our food offer to include a range of hot daily specials and introduced an extensive gluten free menu as well. We serve only the finest freshly roasted fair trade and 100% organic coffee served alongside a selection of fantastic food and other beverages.
Rhona further adds” In addition we also felt it was extremely important to cater for younger children particularly taking in to account our location in a shopping centre environment. Happy children means happy parents. We wanted our children’s area to be an educational space so we have fitted a Kids Educational Zone with computer tablets programmed with all educational material together with other educational toys, maps, colouring/drawing materials etc. Feedback from other businesses within The Harbour Place Shopping Centre show an increase in business due to the footfall that our Esquires Coffee store attracts. Being recognised by the Retail Excellence Awards is not only great for Esquires and the team here in Mullingar but also for the business community around us. We are very proud to support local businesses and our motto is very much ‘love local’”.
Tony McVerry, Esquires Coffee, MD for Ireland said “We are absolutely thrilled for Rhona and Fergal to have nominated for this award for their Mullingar store. The Esquires Coffee Franchise in Ireland has gone from strength to strength over the last number of years with eight outlets across the country and another three opening in Dublin in the first quarter of 2016.”
The overall winner announced of the category of Best Restaurant & Café in Ireland went to Kay’s Kitchen in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre
There is always next year.