Plans to bring Supermac’s to Australia have been delayed because fast food giant McDonald’s objected to the Irish firm’s name being used there.
The Irish chain – which was founded by former schoolteacher Pat McDonagh and now has over 100 outlets here – had hoped to open its first outlet in Australia this year. The first Supermac’s restaurant there was set to be opened by an Australia-based Irish franchisee at Bondi Junction in Sydney.
But Mr McDonagh told the Irish Independent that its move into the market has been delayed because of a trademark dispute with a “major international operator”.
Filings at the Australian government trademarks office show that McDonald’s objected to the registration of the Supermac’s name in the country after the Irish company filed an application for its use last March.
Records show that McDonald’s is set to argue its case early in March next year. Mr McDonagh had also been hoping to open an outlet in Perth to serve the big Irish expat community.
Supermac’s – with total annual revenues of over €130m between company-owned and franchised stores – has been a big success for Mr McDonagh and his wife Una since he opened his first outlet, in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, in 1978.
Mr McDonagh started his empire by selling chips and burgers from the back of a van at the Galway Races. He now owns hotels, and a chain of restaurants in the US.
Accounts just filed for Supermac’s, which includes all his businesses in Ireland, show that revenue jumped 10pc to just under €80m last year, while pre-tax profit soared 40pc to €7.4m.
Mr McDonagh said that the core restaurant business accounted for about €60m of Supermac’s turnover, coming from its company-owned outlets and fees paid by franchisees.
He said the increase in profits was significantly helped by a strong performance from the group’s Castletroy Hotel in Limerick, which he acquired in 2012.
This year, Mr McDonagh spent over €4m to buy the Charleville Park Hotel in Cork. He also bought the Loughrea Hotel and Spa for about €2m.
Mr McDonagh said revenue from the Supermac’s chain had risen about 5pc on an organic basis in 2013, with just one new outlet having been opened. Next year, more outlets are planned, including premises in Drogheda and Tipperary town.