The Bean Cafe Started with 'Go For It'

Local Dundonald ladies Julie Kerr and Toni McAllister identified a gap in their local community and set up the Bean Café, which provides quality competitively priced drinks and meals to its customers.

Located in the Enler Centre this café is always busy as residents gather to socialise with each other.

Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the Council’s Development Committee, visited The Bean Café, and speaking about it, he said: “This centrally located café offers a great selection of hot drinks, snacks and meals for all ages and all culinary tastes.  The staff are friendly and provide a fast and efficient service.  Julie and Toni have embraced the catering industry with great success and are the ideal partnership as each lady brings unique skills to the table to ensure a professionally run business.

“Julie and Toni met with a Go for It adviser based in Inspire Business Centre and were very grateful for the extensive support they got with their business plan.  This strategic document gave then an insight into all the contacts they needed to establish to ensure a profitable business would be set up.  The business advisor also helped them to identify funding sources.”

The Bean Café has 22 seats to dine in and offers a very popular takeaway service.  It opened in May 2016 and employees four full-time employees.

Julie and Toni speaking about their experience, said: “It was on a trip to Dublin zoo with our children that the idea of a cafe first came up, we both agreed that there was nowhere good and local to meet for a coffee or a bite to eat. That’s where we initially thought of the idea of opening a café.

“Things moved pretty quickly after that with an idea becoming something tangible.  We did as much research as possible with us both knowing nothing about the food industry and both became comfortable with the fact that we really wanted and could do this.  The help we received from Go for It was invaluable, they were there to answer every question and to work with us on our business plan. We aren’t going to lie, from the beginning with our ideas to opening the doors was one of the most difficult experiences for both of us.  There were disagreements, strains on relationships and plenty of tears. 

“The end product was all worth it though.  We now have a thriving business of one year old which not only provides a place for people to meet but employment for the local community and have absolutely no regrets.”

If you are interested in being your own boss and have a business idea you would like assistance to progress please contact Go for It on 0800 027 0639 or log on to