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Busaba to focus on London following St Albans restaurant closure

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Busaba to focus on London following St Albans restaurant closure

Thai restaurant chain Busaba Eathai has closed its St Albans restaurant, its last remaining non-London site, to focus on its London estate.

The St Albans restaurant, which opened in 2016, closed on 29 May, with all staff relocated to other Busaba sites.

The company said the management team will be focusing on “delivering operational excellence and memorable guest experiences across the 13 remaining modern Bangkok eateries based in London”.

The brand closed its Liverpool and Manchester sites last year after only a year, which it blamed on competition and disappointing sales. Its Dubai franchise also closed in January, while a site in Leeds that was announced in 2016 is yet to open.

It had announced ambitious expansion plans in 2016 following a 6% increase in turnover to £27.7m and narrowing pre-tax losses of just over £5m for the year ended 28 May 2016, with aims for as many as 26 outlets by 2018.

However, it also announced in the same financial report that if the level of consumer confidence and the growing popularity of eating out did not continue, “it could have an impact on the trading of the group’s restaurants”.

The group reported pre-tax losses of nearly £18m in its financial accounts for the year ended 27 May 2017 despite a 6% year-on-year increase in turnover to £29.4m.

Busaba Eathai was founded in London in 1999 by restaurateur Alan Yau, who is also behind Hakkasan and Wagamama.

Top 100: Alan Yau, Park Chinois, Busaba Eathai >>

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