9th April 2018
Lemongrass Group opens 13th branch
Seeks equity partner for continued growth
The award-winning group Lemongrass Group of Thai restaurants has announced it is seeking a business partner, following the successful opening of its 13th branch, this time in Hove in Sussex.
Led by Minhaz Nasir, who opened his first Lemon Grass restaurant in Worthing in Sussex in 2005, Lemongrass now has branches in Chichester, Petersfield, Cranleigh, Compton near Guildford, Crawley, Rustington (Littlehampton), Horsham, Burgess Hill, Lewes, Brentwood, two in Worthing and now Hove.
With a focus on fine Thai cuisine, each restaurant has between 55 and 100 covers and generates a profit of around £15,000 a month per site. The restaurants also operate a separately branded the in-house Japanese concept, Issa Sushi, in Worthing and Lewes. The company has a 140 full-time staff on its payroll.
Expansion until now has largely been funded through reinvesting profits and a bank facility.
Adopting a low key to the company’s expansion, remaining largely under the radar, Lemongrass restaurants (which have no group website) has built loyal following for its brand of Thai and Japanese. The approach was to void alienating potential custom from the growing segment of the market avoiding large chains. The trend has been confirmed by falling profits and closures among several large-scale operators.
The fast-growing concept has opened 7 sites in the last year, and Nasim (whose management team consists of himself and 3 close family members), feels the company is nearing the limit of their operational capabilities.
“The business had proven that it is a scalable concept and its time to put in a new management team, update our systems and reengineer the business,” said Nasim. “The best way forward is to partner with an organisation experienced in larger operational matters, whilst I focus on our core values and the food, acting more as executive chef.”
Lemongrass has been a repeated winner in the prestigious Asian Curry Awards, organised by the Asian Catering Federation. Its Crawley venue was declared Best Thai Restaurant in 2015 and 2016. In 2017 Lemongrass was named Best Asian Restaurant Chain.
Nasir, 44, who was born in Bangladesh where he began cooking at the age of 7, honed his culinary skills in Dubai before moving to London to work in Bangkok restaurant in South Kensington.
The company will listen to offers for up to 50 percent of the company from the right partner.