Property Director hired to oversee expansion to 80 sites
The Giggling Squid chain of Thai restaurants has announced new openings in Reigate and Marlow, with the recruitment of a Property Director, who will oversee the Group‘s expansion to 80 sites within 7 years.
Following building delays to a £350,000 development in Reigate, caused by the discovery of a 60 cublic metre tunnel beneath the 250 year old property, a sixth Giggling Squid is now on schedule to open on 30th June. Following pre publicity in the local press and on radio, eager locals have been knocking on the door asking builders when the 100-cover three-floor restaurant will open. The dining scene of the Surrey-commuter town is dominated currently by French and Italian chains.
Giggling Squid co owners Andrew and Pranee Laurillard have also signed a 20-year lease on a 300 year old building in Marlow. The former Mexican restaurant site, which had 104 covers, is being remodelled with a £250,000 investment, which is being part-funded by landlord contribution. Market research suggested that residents of the Buckinghamshire town whose only other south east Asian dining venue is a branch of Thai Square, would welcome a new high quality Thai restaurant. Marlow is also dominated by Italian chains.
Giggling Squid has also headhunted Charles Lowe, formerly of St Quintin (CBRE) and Edward Erdman (Colliers), as its Property Director to head up its property division and oversee the expansion.
Giggling Squid has identified, and is negotiating on, five further five sites across the south east, which it expects to open within this financial year.
The Group has enjoyed a strong start to this year, with like-for-like sales up 19.8% in April and May. Net sales for 2012-3 were £2.7m, with site EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of £595,000.
Giggling Squid has budgeted for net sales to exceed of £5m this year, with a site EBITDA of around £1m. Staff numbers are projected grow by 120 and hit 200 by the year end.
Giggling Squid, which opened its first restaurant in 2009 in Hove, has established a strong reputation for its authentic, rustic and fresh Thai cooking with the emphasis on street food and coastal specialities. The food, described by The Times as “exciting”, is prepared by master Thai chefs using fresh ingredients, sourced locally where available. The other existing Giggling Squid sites are in Brighton, Crawley, Tunbridge Wells and Henley-on-Thames.
The lunch menu offers a choice of six Tapas-style ‘tasting sets’ that allow diners to sample several of different dishes in a single sitting, costing between £8.00 and £10.50. Thai Tapas dishes can also be ordered one at a time with 16 individual dishes priced under £3.90.
The evening menu is more extensive with about 40 dishes available. The ever popular Thai Green Chicken Curry is £8.50. The signature “Giggling Squid” – steamed baby squid filled with minced chicken, squid and herbs with basil and chilli – is £10.50.
Giggling Squid is co-owned by husband and wife team Andrew and Pranee Laurilland. Pranee, originally from Thailand met Andrew when studying in the UK for a masters degree. Andrew previously worked as Marketing Director of a FTSE 100 company and is applying much of the strategic and operational lessons earned to expanding the Giggling Squid business.
Although the Laurillards are realistic enough to recognise the growing pains of their ambitions.
“We expect to encounter growth issues when we reach 10 sites and need to put in another management tier – but we are already experiencing significant economies of scale and we learn with each new opening,” said Andrew, adding, “There are no national Thai restaurant chains despite the increasing popularity of the cuisine – we intend to be the first – it’s all about getting the food right.”
Giggling Squid www.gigglingsquid.com @GigglingSquid