The Bangladeshi-born restaurateur acquired Moolis in a pre-pack administration early last year,initially with big ambitions for it to become an ‘Indian Pret A Manger’.
But, despite the single site in Soho building up a loyal customer base, it closed in February of this year, with Wahhab claiming the business’s potential was hampered by the size of the first premises.
He told BigHospitality: “It was a great product and we had a great following, but the configuration of that room in Frith Street was too small – it was not a good site to have started from.
“Having just the one counter meant we were limiting the amount of people that could come through the doors at that crucial 12-2pm period. We ideally wanted to be maxing out on four tills at that time, but that space just didn’t have capacity to do it.
“I’m now just looking at where to park that brand and how much of my future is going to be involved. It’s a question of whether it fits into anything else I’m doing.”
Wahhab is now has other projects in the pipeline, adding ‘I’ve taken my foot of the pedal recently’.
“I spent a lot of time working with the government and doing other things which I found just as rewarding as opening more restaurants," he said.
"But these things can engulf you and I think the time is right to begin something new.
“I’m talking to some people about some interesting things - I’ve been looking at doing something in the US space for some time and one of the new ventures will definitely be in that arena.”
Wrap it Up!
The entrepreneur isn’t short of other ventures. He is involved in numerous projects within the restaurant industry, including his role as chair of The Asian Restaurants Skills Board and chair of Kitchenette, which helps London’s start-up food businesses.
And he has just been appointed as a non-executive director of gourmet fast food chain Wrap it Up! which operates 11 outlets across The City and Central London. He now wants to help expand the chain in the coming months and years, with more outlets in the capital and further afield.
“It’s a fast-growing brand with a young, dynamic management team and a pretty solid customer base,” he said. “I want to explore how this brand can be built upon. If we can go from 11 to 111 sites it would be great – I’ll be helping them to raise finance for the expansion.”
Wahhab’s other restaurant, Roast, continues to trade well, benefitting from the increased footfall in Southwark generated by the recent opening of The Shard.