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Thu 4th May 2017 - Thai Leisure Group to convert Palm Sugar site in Liverpool to new Cantonese concept, full-year revenue rises 11.3%
Thai Leisure Group to convert Palm Sugar site in Liverpool to new Cantonese concept, full-year revenue rises 11.3%: Thai Leisure Group (TLG) is to convert its Palm Sugar site in Liverpool to its planned new Cantonese concept, Propel understands. The new concept, which will launch later this year, will incorporate a daily changing menu of dim sum, bao’s and hirata buns, accompanied by a drinks list focused around tea, signature cocktails, whisky and a ships locker offering exclusive spirits. TLG’s thinking is with Chinese concepts having been a hot topic in London over the past few years, and some dim sum and bao concepts trading remarkably successfully, it wants to use its experience of building brands that work successfully in other parts of the UK to develop the new concept. It has seen a gap in the market and with the wind down of the Palm Sugar brand, has seen an opportunity to test the market in Liverpool. TLG, which operates Chaophraya, Thaikhun, Yee Rah and Chao Baby, unveiled plans for the new concept as it reported revenue increased 11.3% to £32.1m for the year ending 31 July 2016. The company said it had been a period of organisational development and consolidation that had laid the foundations for its continuing growth. Sales per site were about £40,000 per week. The company also continued expansion with five sites opened under key growth-driving brand Thaikhun. Since year-end, a further three sites have opened, two of which opened under the company’s other key growth brand – its premium Thai restaurant business Chaophraya, taking the group to 21 sites. However, in light of tighter trading conditions and a potential softening of the property market, TLG has reviewed its pipeline and decided not to progress its interest in three future restaurant sites and, as such, has incurred related abortive costs of about £0.4m. Managing director Ian Leigh said: “This was a strong year of development for the group in which we opened a significant number of new restaurants. In addition, a new management team established industry-leading central support functions designed to support the ongoing growth and development of our business. Clearly, investments in our central operations and in a number of new restaurants as well as the adjustments we have made to the future property pipeline have tempered group Ebitda growth in the period. However, as a business we are in a strong position as we continue to expand at a significant rate and expect to see the full benefit of the new restaurants we have opened in this period coming through in the current financial year.” During the period the new management team, led by Leigh and Christian Hall, established a dedicated head office and instigated a number of management initiatives – delivering enhanced central functions, systems and processes – designed to support the business as it develops and grows. Restaurant Ebitda was down 6.8% to £5.5m “in the face of some significant sector-wide cost pressures”, while company Ebitda fell 23% to £3m, after deducting head office costs and adding back pre-trading and exceptional costs relating to its expansion, and property pipeline. The company stated: “Our focus remains on expanding our two growth-driving brands, Thaikhun and Chaophraya, and identifying opportunities to develop new and highly-differentiated restaurant concepts that fit with the group. Since the period end, we have continued to focus on operating standards, industry-leading systems and processes, and marketing activities that support and enhance our position.”

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