Giggling Squid said it will open seven new sites over the coming year as it welcomed the return of “some sort of normality” to the business.
The Thai restaurant group, which operates 40 sites – predominantly in affluent provincial market towns and cities – is targeting “top quality retail units” in locations where it currently doesn’t have a presence.
It has already secured premises in Winchester and Maidstone for next year and is in contract talks for a number of others.
Co-founder and CEO, Andy Laurillard, said: “It’s great to be back to some sort of normality. The company has proved to be highly resilient over the last 18 months and we have bounced back strongly since reopening our doors in May which is encouraging.
“Terrific work from our leadership team has meant that we have coped effectively so far with many of the widely reported sector issues, such as staffing constraints and supply chain shortages, and we are taking full advantage of consumers’ eagerness to eat healthy, well-priced cuisine in great locations.”
The company has opened new restaurants in Birmingham, Hornchurch, Nottingham, Sutton Coldfield in its most recent financial year, while branches in Welwyn Garden City and Chelmsford are due to begin trading by Christmas.
During the pandemic, Giggling Squid benefitted from being largely situated in regional locations and offering an accessible, healthy cuisine.
Throughout the year, the company pivoted successfully from an ‘off site’ trading model of takeaway and delivery during lockdowns, to normal trading at its restaurants.
In addition, the opportunity was taken during lockdowns to refurbish several restaurants in the more mature estate.
The company secured a CBIL at the start of the financial year as a precautionary measure, however it has remained unutilised.
Laurillard added: “Strong trading across all of our restaurants underlines the importance of the hospitality sector to the public and it’s been lovely to welcome our customers back. Giggling Squid’s proven roll-out model continues to impress, demonstrating the versatility of the brand’s appeal in a wide range of sites and regions.
“This, together with the strength of our pipeline, has encouraged us to increase our opening programme to at least seven new restaurants this year and we look forward to bringing our unique and authentic Thai hospitality to new locations over the coming months.”
Giggling Squid increased EBITDA by 25% to £5.5m during its most recent financial year as sales grew 5% to £40.2m.