Giggling Squid updates on pipeline, all sites profitable: Giggling Squid, the Thai tapas brand founded by Andy and Pranee Laurillard and backed by BGF, has updated on its pipeline as it expands its geographical footprint. The company plans to open another four restaurants this financial year as it expands further into the Midlands and within the M25. The group, which appointed advisors earlier this year to assess options for the next stage of its growth, also revealed trading in both mature sites and new openings continues to be strong and all of the group’s 32 sites are profitable. In the 12 months to April 2019, the group has opened eight Thai restaurants, including in Chichester, Cheltenham, Windsor, Kingston upon Thames, Bishops Stortford and Harpenden. Last month, two new restaurants opened, in Oxford and Chislehurst, both of which are trading well and to expectations. The pipeline for new sites into 2019/20 is strong as Giggling Squid looks to open between six to ten new restaurants each year as well as embarking on a refurbishment programme of its more mature restaurants. Giggling Squid has just signed for the former CAU site in Leamington Spa, which, subject to planning, is due to open in the autumn. Propel also understands Giggling Squid is looking at a site in St Albans. The company said it was being offered a significant number of attractive new site opportunities, from existing restaurant units to new-build and conversion opportunities. Andy Laurillard said: “We are delighted our contemporary take on high quality Thai cuisine, at a competitive price-point, continues to resonate with customers. Our new openings are performing well and our proven roll-out model and success to date underpins the opportunity we have to extend the brand’s presence further beyond our southern heartland, bringing the Giggling Squid experience to new locations. We have exciting plans ahead with a strong pipeline of new sites, as well as the infrastructure in place to support a significantly larger business, as we progress our measured expansion and growth ambitions.” Giggling Squid, which secured a £6.4m investment from BGF in 2015 to support its expansion plans, opened its first site in Brighton in 2009.
Mowgli secures Bristol site: Indian street food concept Mowgli has further strengthened its openings pipeline after securing a site in Bristol. The company, which is led by founder Nisha Katona and backed by the Foresight Group, is set to take over the PizzaExpress restaurant in the city’s Corn Street for an opening scheduled for October. The current eight-strong Mowgli recently opened in the former Cat’s Pyjamas site in Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road. Mowgli also has openings lined up this year in Cardiff’s Church Street and Leicester’s St Martins, whilst a launch in Preston has also been mooted by Katona. Mowgli currently operates two restaurants in Liverpool, two in Manchester and venues in Birmingham, Nottingham and Oxford.