London restaurateur Alan Yau has secured private equity investment of £21.5m to transform his Busaba Eathai restaurant into a chain.
The restaurant, which opened in London's Soho in 1999, comprises a casual dining concept with communal tables serving a menu of authentic Thai food.
Yau has signed a deal with Phoenix Equity Partners to finance the roll out of between 20 and 30 Busaba Eathai restaurants across the UK over the next five years.
He will remain as both director and major shareholder in the company, with the existing management team continuing to run the business.
Stephen Gee, chairman of Gaucho Group and Carluccio's, will become chairman.
Phoenix's previous investments in the casual dining sector include Gaucho Group, Mill House Inns and Tootsies.
Yau said he was "delighted" to be working with the company. "I look forward to introducing our very different approach to restaurant dining to many areas of the UK," he said.
Earlier this year, Yau sold both his Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants, Hakkasan and Yauatcha, for $60 (£30.m) to a fund owned by Abu Dhabi.
Yau's latest restaurant, Cha Cha Moon in London's Soho, was forced to temporarily shut last week due to smoke damage.
By Kerstin Kühn
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