Retail Coffee & Tea
|Headquarters||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
Whole Bean Coffee
Esquires also known as Esquires Coffee, or Esquires Coffee Houses is an international coffeehouse chain comprising more than 130-plus stores in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Middle East, China and Australasia.
Founded by Doug Williamson and Gary Buckland in Canada in 1993, the intellectual property and trademark rights for the business are now owned by New Zealand-based Cooks Global Foods Limited globally and by Retail Food Group in Australia
The first Esquires Coffee House opened in the suburb of Sunshine Hills, a residential district of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1993. The business was started by Doug Williamson and Gary Buckland, 24 year old entrepreneurs and local business graduates. 37 branches were opened across Canada, primarily on the west coast of British Columbia, before the company went international on a franchise basis.
Esquires expanded to the United Kingdom in 2000, followed by Ireland in 2001. Peter Kirton purchased the master license rights for Esquires Coffee U.K. Limited, which he held until purchased by Cooks Global Foods in 2013. Tony McVerry purchased the master license rights for Esquires Coffee Ireland, which he held until purchased by Cooks Global Foods in 2013.
In 2002, brothers Stuart and Lewis Deeks established the Esquires brand in Australasia through a master franchise agreement with the Canadian parent. Under the name Franchise Development Ltd, they grew the business to become the leading branded chain in New Zealand by store numbers.
In 2013, the Deeks merged their business into NZX-listed Cooks Global Foods. In April 2013, Cooks acquired the intellectual property and master franchising rights to Esquires Coffee Houses worldwide - excluding New Zealand and Australia. The company also owns wholesale businesses in related industries. Cooks immediately hired Doug Williamson, one of the original founders, to re-join the organisation and run the United Kingdom business. Under Doug's leadership, Esquires Coffee U.K. have rebranded most of their estate, have implemented new food programs and are aggressively marketing Esquires Coffee as a solid franchise investment opportunity. Esquires Coffee U.K. are currently focused on securing multi-store franchise partnerships with investment groups and are aggressively promoting Esquires Master License opportunities in Scotland and Wales. The company plans to open 8 new outlets in the U.K. by March 31, 2017, and expect to have 200+ shops by 2021, which it will achieve through multi-store partnerships, joint ventures, cooperate partnerships, and acquisitions.
In April 2014, Cooks Global Foods acquired the Esquires Canadian intellectual property rights, the original Esquires franchisor founded in 1993.
Globally Cooks Global Foods owns the Esquires Coffee Houses brand and system in Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it also directly franchises stores, and the Middle East and China where stores are franchised through master franchise holders.
In October 2013, the parent company presented its plans to consolidate and grow the business, with a minimum objective of 580 Esquires stores globally by 2020.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Esquires owns the master franchises covering 38 stores and a refurbishment programme is underway to ensure that the branding is aligned with the global design and to upgrade stores and to ensure that service consistency is enhanced.
In the Middle East, the company has commitments for the development of more than 80 Esquires Coffee Houses in the world’s most influential Arab economic alliance. Master Franchisees currently operate stores in all Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UAE. Oman and Qatar have recently signed master franchise agreements and will have stores operating during 2014.
In China, Esquires is currently looking for investors who may be experienced franchisees, experienced hospitality retailers, investors - wanting to open territories and commit to opening a specific number of stores.
In North America, Esquires now licenses back to Esquires Canada the right to use the IP to the existing 14 Esquires Coffee Houses stores in British Columbia and for a Master Franchise Agreement for Alberta. Esquires plans to focus on aggressive growth nationwide which will include the construction of a number of new corporate flagships this year and expansion into other Canadian provinces.
- Historical data from the Irish Esquires website.