Belfast coffee chain District acquired by Follow Leisure

Gary McIldowney.
Gary McIldowney.

THE owner of Slim's Healthy Kitchen has acquired Belfast based coffee chain, District.

Gary McIldowney’s Follow Leisure is the new owner of the four south Belfast coffee shops.

The coffee chain, which was set up in 2016, will continue to operate under its own brand, with the 30 staff moving under the Follow Leisure umbrella.

But the group said it will close a location in Stranmillis when the lease expires later this year.

In a statement, Follow Leisure described the coffee shop as “underperforming”.

The group’s hospitality portfolio includes cafes Canteen, Output, Morning Martha and the multi-venue restaurant brand, Slim’s Healthy Kitchen.

Mr McIldowney said the acquisition will complement the group’s growth strategy.

“Our plans are to immediately provide an increased and varied food offering with a strong focus on an all-day breakfast and brunch menu,” he said.

“We’re excited to welcome all District staff to the Follow Leisure group.

“District has demonstrated robust trading in recent months and had a quick rebound following the removal of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

“We view District as having significant future potential in many high footfall locations. The brand matches perfectly with the ethos of our other café brands of great coffee, a stand-out food offering and service with a local community-based feel.”