Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid has received a £6.4m investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) to enable it to expand its portfolio nearly six-fold within the next five to seven years.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Andy and Pranee Laurillard, the casual dining concept currently has 13 sites in the south of England and Midlands and intends to grow to between 50 and 70 restaurants.
As well as taking a significant minority equity stake in the business, BGF - a provider of growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses with access to up to £2.5b of funds - has introduced Simon Kossoff, chairman and former chief executive of Carluccio's, to the company as non-executive chairman. Jon Simon, an investor at BGF, has also joined the board.
Until now, Giggling Squid's expansion has been funded through cash flow and bank borrowings.
Andy Laurillard described the new investment as an important step to expand Giggling Squid nationwide. "We are now well funded and in a strong position for growth," he said. "This is a growing, dynamic company and it is an exciting time for Giggling Squid and for all of our employees. Thai cuisine is an under served segment of the market and we have the opportunity to create a truly national brand providing great Thai food."
Simon said that he first met the Laurillards in 2013 and was impressed with the quality of their and their vision for Giggling Squid. "We kept in regular contact and keenly followed their progress. We are excited to now have the opportunity to invest in this established casual dining brand, with a strong track record of organic growth and a compelling expansion story."
The funding will allow Giggling Squid to strengthen the head office support team in Guildford, with the hiring of finance, marketing, HR and operations teams a priority.
Andy Laurillard will focus on building the central team and overseeing the roll out of new sites, while Pranee Laurillard will look after menu innovation and maintain the quality of the food, which is all prepared fresh at each site.
"We intend to redefine the quality of Thai dining across the country's market towns and Simon is a great person to have advising us on delivering this," said Pranee Laurillard.
The company's last set of annual results recorded a 67% rise in sales to £4.5m in the year to 31 March 2014.
Since the opening of the first Giggling Squid in Hove, restaurants have followed in Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Henley, Reigate, Stratford, Bristol, Salisbury, with building work under way on new restaurants in Bury St Edmunds, Berkhamsted and Warwick. Giggling Squid in Esher will launch on 17 November.
Latest video from The Caterer