Canadian fast food chain Mary Brown's Chicken 'to open in several Northern Ireland locations'

North's first Pret A Manger outlet also confirmed for Belfast city centre

Mary Brown’s Chicken has agreed leases at several locations in the north, CBRE have said.
Mary Brown’s Chicken has agreed leases at several locations in the north, CBRE have said.

CANADIAN fast food chain Mary Brown’s Chicken is set to open a number of new outlets in Northern Ireland.

Property firm CBRE said the friend chicken company is actively seeking opportunities across the north and has agreed leases at several locations.

Founded in 1969, the Ontario-based Mary Brown’s Chicken is one of the fastest growing franchises in Canada.

It has 236 units worldwide, with aims to grow by expanding into the UK and Irish market in 2023.

CBRE’s latest industry report analysing the state of the north’s commercial property sector during the second quarter of 2023 has also confirmed that Pret A Manger has agreed terms for a unit in Belfast city centre, which will be its first outlet in Northern Ireland.

It’s just over a year since the sandwich franchise announced plans to open 20 shops in both Northern Ireland and in the Republic over the next decade.

Pret has already opened two sites in Dublin since last year.

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CBRE said the food and beverage pod and drive-thru market remained particularly active in the north during 2023.

It was among a number of highlights during what CBRE labelled a “difficult quarter” for the Northern Ireland property market.

“Last quarter, high hopes were pinned on the Windsor Framework to unlock investment opportunities in Northern Ireland, particularly across the commercial property sector,” said CBRE NI’s managing director, Brian Lavery.

“We are however, still waiting for that key to turn, and the absolute need for national and local government impetus to drive development and attract potential occupiers and investors cannot be overlooked.

“The slow pace of decision-making in Northern Ireland is also impacting the office market with below average take-up figures in the first six months (150,000 sq ft of lettings) of 2023.

“On the flip side of the coin, the serviced office sector is benefitting from this occupier hesitancy and is operating at near full capacity.”

CBRE’s second quarter report also confirmed that shoe retailer Clarks will take on a new unit in Belfast’s Donegall Place next to the new Accessorize store.

It comes just weeks after Clarks vacated its former Donegall Place home to make way for a new River Island concept store.