Record year for Boojum as it prepares to open first site in Britain

Mexican-style burrito bar chain to open Leeds outlet in April, taking its network to 17

Exterior photo of a Boojum outlet, looking up at its signage of red font on blue hoarding.
Boojum has 16 sites across the island of Ireland, including four in the north.

Belfast-founded Mexican-style burrito bar chain Boojum has reported a record £27 million in annual sales across its island of Ireland operation.

The food company, which was last year acquired by the Azzurri Group, saw turnover increase by around £3m to £26.98m in the year ending April 23 2023.

That represented a growth rate of 27% over a three-year period.

But the group’s pre-tax profit slipped 8% to £2.2m year-on-year, with the directors citing inflationary pressures and costs linked its strategic expansion.

It comes as the Burrito bar chain opened a new outlet in Tallaght on Friday, its ninth in the Dublin area.

It took the Boojum portfolio to 16 burrito bars across the island.

Alongside Belfast and Dublin, Boojum has also opened in Cork, Limerick, and Galway.

The group had 439 staff on its books at the end of April 2023, an increase of 63 people on 2022.

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.

TowerBrook Capital Partners, which owns the Azzurri Group, acquired the group on June 19 2023 and set its eyes on expanding the franchise across Britain.

They have retained David Maxwell as managing director.

Overhead view of a table full of Mexican style food.
The average Boojum store generated an average of £37,067 per week last year.

Azzurri, which also owns Zizzi, Ask Italian and Coco Di Mama, is currently preparing for Boojum’s attempt to break the English market.

Its first outlet on the other side of the Irish Sea is due to open in Leeds during April.

Accounts for the Boojum group published by Companies House show sales in the burrito chain’s four Northern Ireland restaurants dropped by £270,000 to £8.5m in the last financial year.

That was offset by a £3.2m uplift in sales across the Republic, which rose to just under £18.5m.

Weekly revenues per store averaged £37,067 in the year to April 2023, up from £34,285 in 2022.

Acknowledging the impact of inflation on the food and hospitality sector in their review of the business published with latest accounts, the directors of Boojum said: “The whole hospitality sector has been exposed to global headwinds.

“Whilst striving to contain the impact of higher pricing, the business is not immune to such turbulence, and consequently has been required to absorb a substantial share of the premiums imposed on certain commodities.

“Despite further inflationary effects directly related to utilities, the ratio of operating expenses to seals held flat as labour efficiencies tracked online with higher transaction volumes.”

The concluded that the group “continues to achieve industry leading performance metrics and is regarded as a strong result in the context of a more challenging trading environment”.