The four-strong family-run restaurant group, has been offering a tapas menu alongside its a la carte menu for the last few months which marketing manager and company director Acharee Krainavaphan said had been so well received that she had decided to convert Wimbledon to tapas-only.
“Sharing lots of small plates is a way of eating that is becoming more popular, particularly as people become better-travelled,” she said.
“What we have found is that people don’t always want a fixed meal and this way it gives them the option to just come in for a drink and a share a few small dishes if they want.
“Crucially they will be able to enjoy Thai food as it’s supposed to be enjoyed, by having a taste of lots of different dishes.”
Krainavaphan, who is gradually taking over the management of the four restaurants from her parents Susie and Dang as they approach retirement, said regular customers would not notice a major change to the restaurant but hoped the move to tapas-only would broaden its appeal.
“We won’t make any major changes to the restaurant’s décor, but we want to make it more of a casual dining affair where people can come in and spend £20 on a drink and a few dishes," she said.
“We will be lessening the portions of some existing dishes, but also adding more smaller plates and nibbles to broaden the range. This way people can be more experimental with their order. “
Krainavaphan said the next month would be spent honing the menu and re-training staff before the new concept officially launched in September.
She said there were no plans as yet to introduce tapas-only at Mae Ping's sites in Croydon, Beckenham and East Grinstead, but would review its success at Wimbledon and consider introducing it at another two sites next year.
Mae Ping Thai was established by Susie and Dang Krainavaphan in 1994 when they opened their first site in Croydon. The business grew organically with the family going on to open sites in Beckenham, East Grinstead, Epsom and Wimbledon. The Epsom site was closed after it was sold off last year, leaving four sites within the group.