The expansion plans come after investment from the Business Growth Fund and £8m bank facility from Barclays, and soon after the appointment of Mike O’Mahoney as the new chief financial officer.
The business – which is looking to expand to 25 sites by mid-2017 ‒ has recently acquired venues in Brentwood, Wokingham, Windsor, and Bath, and will be adding an extension to its Guildford restaurant. Sites in Norwich, Berkhamsted, Warwick and Farnham are already in the ‘fit out’ stage, the group confirmed.
It is also looking to acquire several other properties in and around the M25 area, and expects to complete on these negotiations in the coming weeks.
Over the past four years, Giggling Squid has consistently stated that it aims to become the first 'national Thai chain', and has said wide-scale expansion would be on the cards: in 2013 it went as far to suggest that it was aiming for '80 sites in the next six years'.
O'Mahoney, whose experience includes 20 years at brands such as De Vere, Thistle Hotels, and The Hotel Collection, commented on the latest expansion announcement: “I am delighted to be joining Giggling Squid. It’s a great business with great people. With really strong like-for-like growth, improving margins and an awesome pipeline, Giggling Squid is well positioned to achieve its goal of becoming the first fully national Thai restaurant operation.”
Managing director Andy Laurillard added: "[O’Mahoney is] a great guy with tons of experience and is the right person to help us steer the finances through this period of rapid growth.”
Giggling Squid currently operates across the England, including in Brighton, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Esher, Marlow, Bury St. Edmunds, Billericay, Horsham, and Salisbury.
All sites offer a takeaway menu, a lunch menu with a range of six tapas-style ‘tasting sets’, and a wider evening menu inspired by traditional Thai curries, seafood dishes, and street food.