Our story

The story so far

The first O’Brien’s outlet was set-up in Dublin in 1988 by Irish Businessman, Brody Sweeney. He chose the name O’Brien because it was the most common name in the Irish phonebook. There are now almost 300 O’Brien’s outlets around the world including Australia, South Africa, Spain, Germany, Singapore and China. The O’Brien’s name is now owned by Abrakebabra Investments Limited who also operate as the Franchisor in the Republic of Ireland.

Adrian Garvey bought the first O’Brien’s Franchise in NI in September 1999, he gained an agreement from the Parent Company in Dublin to operate as a “development agent” in NI, (meaning he sold the franchises and supported the business, finding sites etc) in 2002/3. From that he developed O’Brien’s NI to 24 sites in NI by 2008. Damien Garvey joined him as a partner in the business in balmy summer of 2006.

As part of an overall restructuring of the O’Brien’s worldwide business in 2008 & 2009 Adrian & Damien Garvey gained a Master Franchise agreement for the 6 counties of Northern Ireland and since that time have operated as a single business in NI. As such O’Brien’s NI is now exclusively operated by our company, a move which has allowed us to raise the overall standards and quality significantly.



  • O’Brien’s NI now operates 11 units in high profile sites.
  • We are the largest independently owned & operated chain in NI
  • Our Victoria Square store is the largest O’Brien’s anywhere (3500 sq foot) 120 seats
  • In 2010 we opened our first ‘transit’ location at in George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA)
  • We have opened 4 new stores since August 2009 with the creation of about 60 jobs and plan further sites in Northern Ireland over the coming months
  • O'Brien’s NI were shortlisted in the ‘Sammies’ (the sandwich Oscars) by the British Sandwich Association, for Specialist Sandwich Bar Chain of the Year Award and the store in GBBCA for En-Route Sandwich Retailer of the year.

Store Awards

  • GBBCA – En-Route Sandwich Retailer of the Year Award (Finalist)– British Sandwich Association – Sammies 2012
  • Fairhill, Ballymena – Best Small Eatery/Coffee Shop Award (Finalist) – Ballymena Business Awards 2012
  • Fairhill, Ballymena – Excellence in Customer Service Award (Finalist) – Ballymena Business Awards 2012