Boojum looks to expand into Britain following Azzurri Group acquisition

Boojum operates 14 outlets across the island of Ireland.
Boojum operates 14 outlets across the island of Ireland. Boojum operates 14 outlets across the island of Ireland.

THE Mexican-style burrito bar chain Boojum has been bought by the Azzurri Group.

The casual dining chain, which already owns Zizzi, Ask Italian and Coco di Mama, has acquired a controlling interest in Boojum from Renatus Capital Partners.

The first Boojum burrito bar was originally set up in Belfast by John and Karen Blisard during 2007.

In 2015, David and Andrew Maxwell partnered with Dublin-based Renatus to buy the company.

Eight years on and Boojum now operates an all-island network of 14 burrito bars, employing around 300 people.

Managing director David Maxwell said the Azzurri acquisition means Boojum will be looking to expand across the Irish Sea in future.

“This announcement is a hugely exciting development for Boojum, and testament to the transformation the business has undergone since partnering with Renatus Capital Partners in 2015,” he said.

“They’ve been excellent partners to me and the wider management team since the start and have backed the management team at every stage.

“We are looking forward to continuing our journey with the Azzurri Group as we look to expand across the Irish Sea.”

The acquisition by Azzurri represents a significant expansion of its presence on the island of Ireland.

Just five of its 200 Italian-themed restaurants are located on the island.

It opened its second Zizzi outlet in Belfast at the revamped Odyssey Pavilion earlier this year. Zizzi also operates from three sites in Dublin.

Azzurri Group chief executive, Steve Holmes said Boojum is a good fit for the company.

“Boojum is a very strong business, with devoted customers and an exceptionally talented team,” he said.

“It is a really good fit for Azzurri as the business will add a new dimension to our portfolio given it offers a different cuisine, a different occasion and serves a younger demographic.

“We look forward to working with David and the team to seize the massive opportunity in the Mexican fast casual segment.”

Commenting on its exit from the business, Renatus Capital Partners director Brendan Traynor said: “We are delighted to have worked closely with Boojum over the past eight years as it was grown from five to 14 locations across the island of Ireland.

“Boojum is a trailblazing brand, and this transaction marks another exciting milestone in the company’s growth trajectory.”