A new nationwide Indian restaurant chain is to be launched next year in an attempt to bring branding to the staunchly independent sector.
The chain of restaurants will be named Asha, after Bollywood star Asha Bhosle, who already operates two restaurants under the name in Dubai and Kuwait.
|Film star and singer Asha Bhosle will help with recipes, music and decor in the UK restaurants|
Russell Scott, formerly Harry Ramsden's chief executive and managing director at Scottish & Newcastle retail, is launching a new company, Brand Asia, and has bought the UK and Ireland master franchise rights to Asha's Restaurants International.
Scott, a former Acorn Award winner, plans to open at least one restaurant by Easter next year and hopes to roll out up to 40 sites within five years. North London and the Midlands are being targeted for the first opening.
The new business is putting together £3m-£4m from private-equity investors and banks to fund initial sites over the first two years.
Bhosle will be involved in the recipes, music and decor, with music compilations sent daily from India. Food will be Mumbai-themed "home-style" cooking, with meals costing £25-£30 with wine. Asha restaurants will average 130-150 seats, with a trading area of about 3,500sq ft.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 2 December 2004