Costa operator Optimum to open 10 kebab outlets

Optimum Group operates multiple Costa Coffee outlets in Merseyside and will bring kebab brand I am Döner to Liverpool in a deal that will see at least 10 new outlets opened. Tony McDonough reports

I am Döner
Optimum will bring kebab brand I am Döner to Liverpool this summer


Leading Liverpool Costa Coffee franchise operator Optimum Group has struck a deal to bring fast-growing kebab brand I am Döner to Liverpool this summer.

Optimum operates 26 Costa Coffee stores across Merseyside, West Lancs and Sale. Kaspas Desserts Restaurants in Liverpool and St Helens are also part of its portfolio. The company employs 240 staff. 

I am Döner was started in 2016 by chef Paul Baron. It is now backed by Think Hospitality.  Paul started with a small takeaway shop in Headingley in 2016. He was inspired to open the outlet following a trip to Berlin.

It now has three UK outlets in Headingley, Harrogate and Leeds city centre.The venture has also opened up in Dubai and is planning another in the Isle of Man. Now it has signed a deal with Optimum to launch in Liverpool. The agreement will see at least 10 new outlets opened over the next five years.

Optimum was launched in Liverpool in 2006. Despite hospitality being hit hard by the pandemic, Optimum has emerged strongly from the crisis. In the year to August 31, 2021, it reported revenues of £8.2m and pre-tax profits of £1.5m. It is a Living wage Foundation accredited employer. The firm’s Costa branch in Kirkby is the current Costa Coffee UK Franchise Store of the Year

Dave Connor, chief executive of Optimum Group, said: “Having researched the premium kebab sector extensively for a number of years we are pleased to have selected to partner with I am Döner.

“The brand is strong, systemised and led by an experienced management team. The menu and food really is the stand out feature, simply the best döner we have tasted. We just had to bring this brand to the North West of England.


Costa Coffee
Optimum Group operates 26 Costa Coffee outlets


“This new addition will be a great fit in our brand portfolio of coffee shops and dessert businesses. We will be opening two I am Döner outlets within the first year and at least 10 within five years. We are proud to be the first UK franchise partner.”

I am Döner uses a total of 120 ingredients in the six kebabs its makes. It offers 10 items of salad, feta cheese, homemade bread, homemade sauces and meats. It has gone beyond the traditional late-night market for kebabs and has a strong lunchtime following.

READ MORE: £2.5m Mersey gastro pub to create 60 jobs

I am Döner chairman, James Hacon, added: “We are excited to start our UK roll-out with the team at Optimum Group. They have both the experience and vision to make this a massive success.

“This is the culmination of three years of hard work from the I am Döner team where we have strengthened leadership and focused on taking a fantastic concept and making it run like a systemised well-oiled machine.”

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