Croatian gaming cafe chain Friendly Fire expands to Slovenia

Image credit: Friendly Fire Inc.

Croatian esports cafe and venue chain Friendly Fire has announced plans to expand its operations to Slovenia through franchising and sub-franchising.

The company has signed a master franchise agreement for Slovenia, allowing its gaming venues to be opened in the country this year.

ESI Lisbon 2024

Friendly Fire (formerly Esports Arena) is a Croatian gaming and esports cafe chain founded in 2017. The company’s core business is operating cafes in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria and Mexico. Along with its core business, the company sells a gaming chair used in its venues, called the Master Seat. Friendly Fire also used to operate an esports team in Croatia and produce its own lineup of PC peripherals.

The move towards Slovenia is the latest in a string of franchises opened by Friendly Fire this year. David Kosir, Founder of Friendly Fire told Esports Insider that the company has seen an “explosion of interest from franchisees locally and internationally”, resulting in five new locations opened recently.

The company has signed an agreement to open its first franchise in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Kosir added that this is the first out of three locations in the city and that the main goal is to solidify operations in Ljubljana before expanding to other cities in the country, either through sub-franchising or company-owned operations. The total investment for this expansion is expected to be around £860,000.

Kosir reflected on the plans for the rest of 2024: ” We have new openings planned in Mexico, Slovenia, and Croatia, and we’re negotiating in several other countries. The interest and inquiries we receive daily are huge, as people see the results and profits from our existing locations. This year, our revenues are on track to quadruple compared to 2023.

“The gaming cafe market is full of untapped potential, and Friendly Fire is leading the way with a solid system and low-cost operations. We’re just at the beginning of our global expansion, and we’re very optimistic about the future.”

The gaming cafe market is a unique one, with the likes of SideQuest spearheading its growth in the UK. However, at the same time, other competitors such as Platform were forced to shut down operations.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.