Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid is looking to acquire top-quality retail units nationwide to fulfil its expansion ambitions, with plans to open a minimum of seven new sites in the current financial year.
In the group's results for the year to 4 April 2021, it reported total income increased by 4.7% to £40.2m and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was £5.5m, up 25% from £4.4m in the previous financial year.
The company said it had benefitted during the pandemic from being largely situated in regional locations and used lockdowns to refurbish several restaurants. It secured a coronavirus business interruption loan (CBIL) at the start of the financial year as a precautionary measure, however it remained unutilised.
In the current financial year, the group said trading since reopening for indoor dining in mid-May 2021 had been "excellent", with new restaurants opened in Harborne, West Bridgford and Mere Green, all of which were trading "ahead of management's initial expectations".
A fourth site opened in Hornchurch last week and a further two new sites are due to open before Christmas in Welwyn Garden City and Chelmsford, with sites for next year already secured in Winchester and Maidstone and additional sites under discussion.
Andy Laurillard, co-founder and chief executive, said: "It's great to be back to some sort of normality. The company has proved to be highly resilient over the last 18 months and we have bounced back strongly since reopening our doors in May, which is encouraging. Terrific work from our leadership team has meant that we have coped effectively so far with many of the widely reported sector issues, such as staffing constraints and supply chain shortages, and we are taking full advantage of consumers eagerness to eat healthy, well-priced cuisine in great locations!
"Strong trading across all of our restaurants underlines the importance of the hospitality sector to the public and it's been lovely to welcome our customers back. Giggling Squid's proven roll-out model continues to impress, demonstrating the versatility of the brand's appeal in a wide range of sites and regions. This, together with the strength of our pipeline, has encouraged us to increase our opening programme to at least seven new restaurants this year and we look forward to bringing our unique and authentic Thai hospitality to new locations over the coming months."
Giggling Squid was founded in 2009 by Pranee and Andrew Laurillard. It opened its first restaurant in Brighton and now operates 40 restaurants across the UK.