Musgrave, the Irish group operating the SuperValu and Centra retail franchises, is moving into the lucrative foodservice sector.
A cash and carry outlet, serving the €3.5 bn Irish ­hotel, restaurant and catering market, is due to open in the Dublin suburb of Bally­mun in September, with more outlets planned elsewhere in the Republic over the next two years.
The outlets will be operated by Musgrave Wholesale Service (MWS), a unit within the group, which last year bought Belfast-based ­Variety Foods and C&R Frozen Foods. A team travelled to Belgium and Holland to research the idea. "There&'s nothing quite like it either here or in the UK," said Musgrave marketing manager Ruth Craig.
The Ballymun outlet represents an investment of more than €2m. Chefs have been brought in to help ­retrain staff.