Restaurant chain founded by Wagamama entrepreneur secures funds to expand

Busaba Eathai Shoreditch

Busaba Eathai, the Thai restaurant chain launched by Hakkasan and Wagamama entrepreneur Alan Yau, has set its sights on expanding outside of London as it steps up its growth plans.

Owners Phoenix Equity Partners and the company’s bank Barclays have provided Busaba with £10m in extra financing to fund new sites outside the capital, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A restaurant in Manchester opens its doors later this month and a Liverpool site will launch in February, while the chain said that talks about locations in other UK cities are “at an advanced stage”.

The paper said that Busaba Eathai’s turnover increased by 5% to £26m last year, while pre-tax losses fell from £5.2m to £4.3m.

Busaba opened three new London sites and a Dubai franchise last year, taking its portfolio to 13 sites.

Phoenix took control of Busaba in 2008 in a £21.5m deal and there is speculation the buy-out house could sell the business this year, the report added.

In its financial accounts, Busaba acknowledged that a cooling-down of the casual dining sector presented a risk.

“Over recent years, eating out at casual dining restaurants has increased every year. If the level of consumer confidence and the growing popularity of eating out does not continue it could have an impact on the trading of the company’s restaurants.”

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