The scions of two Irish ice cream dynasties are plotting a 70-store UK rollout

Gino’s Gelato will launch in Chester, Manchester and Liverpool this year.

By Killian Woods Reporter, Fora

IRISH CONFECTIONARY COMPANY Gino’s Gelato is plotting a 70-store expansion into the UK over the next five years as it branches out from the Irish market.

The firm, which currently has 15 stores in Ireland, sells Italian gelato and other products like Belgian-style waffles and crêpes.

It was established by Jonathan Kirwan and Anthony Murphy, whose families had operated rival ice cream-van businesses since the 1960s.

The pair joined forced to set up Gino’s Gelato in 2007 and opened their first store a year later.

Speaking to Fora, Kirwan said the company’s plan to move into the UK has chopped and changed a number of times, but the rollout will happen this year.

“We had a deal done with a guy who was going to open 70 shops in the UK and he wanted to franchise those. We went a long way in the negotiations and in the end it changed,” he said.

“He wanted to do a joint venture with us instead of a franchise, so we decided we had worked too hard and come too far to start bringing in more partners. We decided to do it ourselves.”

Ginos 3 Jonathan Kirwan (left) and Anthony Murphy
Source: Gino's Gelato

He added that the UK company was formally set up last week and the plan is to move into Chester, Manchester and Liverpool for the first stores.

“We’ll get three open this season and then during the winter period we will get another two open. That means this time next year we should have five in the UK.

“So if those five work out, we will then go with another 10 in 2018 and then ramp it up by 20 each year after that.”


In addition to the expansion in the UK, Gino’s Gelato also has plans to open three or four new stores in Ireland this year.

ginos 4
Source: Gino's Gelato

The company develops all products using organic milk sourced from two Irish producers and all the gelato on display is made on the premises of each store.

The firm’s latest accounts, to the end of November 2015, show it delivered a profit of nearly €170,000 that year – although that was yet to make up for set-up losses from previous periods. Kirwan and Murphy each own half the company.

Last year, Gino’s Gelato launched its first sit-in store on Georges Street in Dublin, which is owned by a franchisee, and the operator of that shop has plans to open two more outlets, according to Kirwan.

“The Georges Street shop is really paying off for him – he’s really busy over there. So it has been a success and a testament of it is that he’s going to open three more of them.

“So he is mad keen and we also have another franchisee in Waterford who wants to open up another one or two stores as well.”

He added that the new stores in Ireland are likely to be located in Cork and possibly Kilkenny, but the company is not keen to partner with any new franchisees at this stage.