Thai chain will listen to offers for up to 50% of its business

Minhaz Nasir, Lemongrass

The Lemongrass Group of Thai restaurants is seeking a business partner to drive its next phase of expansion, and insists it will listen to offers for up to 50% of the business if the deal is right.

Led by Minhaz Nasir (main picture), who opened his first Lemon Grass restaurant in Worthing in 2005, the company runs 13 sites throughout Sussex and the south. Its latest branch just opened in Hove.

Expansion until now has largely been funded through reinvesting profits and a bank facility. But the company, which Nasir runs with three family members, is keen to attract investors.

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“The business had proven that it is a scalable concept and it’s time to put in a new management team, update out systems and reengineer the business,” he explained. “The best way forward is to partner with an organisation experienced larger operational matters, while I focus on our core values and the food, acting as executive chef.”

Each of the company’s restaurants serves between 55 and 100 covers and generates a profit of around £15,000 a month. The branches also operate a separately branded in-house Japanese concept, Issa Sushi, in Worthing and Lewes. Collectively the business employs 140 staff.

Seven sites have opened in the past 12 months following a busy period of expansion, but Mr Nasir feels the management is nearing the limit of their operational capabilities and needs fresh blood to help it push onto the next level.

The company said it will listen to offers for up to 50% of the company from the right partner.

Mr Nasir, 44, was born in Bangladesh and honed his culinary skills in Dubai before moving to London to work in Bangkok restaurant in South Kensington. His restaurants have won Thai and Asian food awards for the past three years.

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Andrew Seymour

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