Caffè Nero, the Gerry Ford-led Italian coffee chain, will make its debut in the US, in Boston this spring, which will be the precursor to a number of sites the group plans to open in the region over the coming 12 months.
The c650-strong group will open in the city’s Downtown Crossing neighbourhood at Millennium Place, this April.
The company has put in place an operational team to oversee its expansion in the region, which will be led by director of US operations Jay Gentile, formerly regional vice president of Boston-based bakery and café chain Au Bon Pain.
He is joined by another former Au Bon Pain employee Jason Souza as area director, while Dianne Gwynne is the group’s US director of finance.
Ford, who founded the company in 1997 and grew up in California and Europe, but spent two years studying in the Boston area, said: “I love Boston because it is such a beautiful, vibrant city. I lived here as a graduate student and feel it is a natural fit for our first US location. We think coffee lovers will enjoy our award-winning blends and appreciate the hours of craftsmanship Caffè Nero puts into each cup we serve.”
Gentile, who oversaw c50 sites with a regional revenue of $80m at Au Bon Pain, said: “We’re looking to bring European coffee house culture to the US. Caffè Nero is an accessible, friendly coffee house where customers are welcome to grab a bite to eat, meet friends, catch up on work or simply read and relax.”
The group currently operates international sites in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Poland, Ireland and Cyprus.
At the start of this year, the company announced that it had agreed a new £250m debt financing package to support its “strong growth objectives”, which include pushing forward in international territories, advancing further in the UK and opening up new channels such as “at home” coffee.
Last year, the company reported a 2.8% rise in like-for-like sales in the year to 31 May, as EBITDA increased by 10.8% to £34.9m, and said it planned to open 45 stores in 2014. Since its formation Caffè Nero has had 67 of 68 quarters of positive like-for-like sales and EBITDA growth.
Ford said: “The Caffè Nero brand has outstanding growth prospects. This new debt package allows us to move into some exciting new areas and to continue with our strong store growth both in the UK and abroad.”