The South East-based group, which has sites in Hove, Brighton, Crawley, Tunbridge Wells and Henley-on-Thames, has also announced new upcoming venues in Marlow and Reigate – the latter of which opens next month.
Giggling Squid has also identified, and is negotiating on, five further five sites across the region - all of which it expects to open within this financial year. Charles Lowe has been appointed as property director to oversee the expansion.
Back in September of last year, Andy Laurilland, who owns Giggling Squid with wife and business partner Pranee, gave BigHospitality an original expansion target of 50 sites over the next five years.
“There aren't any truly national Thai chains, despite the increasing popularity of the food,” he said. “We’re hoping to be the first to go nationwide, but it’s all about getting the food right in every restaurant.”
The Group has since enjoyed a strong start to this year, with like-for-like sales up 19.8 per cent in April and May. Net sales for 2012-3 were £2.7m, with a site EBITDA of £595,000. And, despite increasing the expansion target, Laurillard is realistic enough to recognise the potential growing pains of their ambitions.
“We expect to encounter growth issues when we reach 10 sites and need to put in another management tier,” he added. “But we are already experiencing significant economies of scale and we learn with each new opening.”
Giggling Squid offers authentic, rustic and fresh Thai cooking with an emphasis on street food and coastal specialities. Over 40 dishes feature on its menu, including the signature ‘Giggling Squid’ - steamed baby squid filled with minced chicken, squid and herbs with basil and chilli – priced at £10.50. The restaurant also offers tapas-style ‘tasting sets' and a variety of smaller individual dishes.
A £350,000 development in Reigate will be the sixth Giggling Squid venue when the three-tier, 100-cover restaurant opens on 30 June. The Laurillard’s have also signed a 20-year lease on a 300 year old building in Marlow, which will open later this summer.
Giggling Squid has budgeted for net sales to exceed of £5m this year, with a site EBITDA of around £1m. Staff numbers are projected grow by 120 to 200 by the year end.