Leeds’ Thai Leisure Group receives £10m Santander investment

The Leeds-based Thai Leisure Group (TLG), which currently operates 11 restaurants and four cocktail bars across the north of England and Scotland, just landed a £10m investment from Santander to go ahead with its expansion plans.

TLG, which runs the dining brand Chaophraya and the new Thaikhun street-food brand, plans to use the funding to open 6 additional sites this year and 8 throughout 2016, with Thaikun being its focal point.

The initial two openings will occur in Oxford this April and in Cambridge the following month.

Other locations TLF are targeting to expand the Thaikhun brand to include Guildford and Nottingham, in an effort to cover the east and west while moving southwards.

TLG, which was established in Leeds and recently celebrated its 10 years in the city, is co-owned by Martin Stead and Kim Kaewraikhot, who is also chef director.

The business, which has reported like for like sales growth of 9% over the last year, is one of the fastest growing in the hospitality sector. With current turnover, annualised on existing sites of £27m and serving around 26,000 customers per week, TLG is already the leading Thai restaurant group outside London.

Martin Stead, co-owner of TLG, said: “This is certainly an exciting time for Kim and I. 10 years ago we opened our first Chaophraya in Leeds, and here we are about to embark on the next stage of a thrilling journey. I feel we are well positioned in a market which is very buoyant. We have the right people in place and have now secured a significant investment from Santander, which places us in a strong position to be able to push forward with new openings. 2015 is already proving an amazing year for us … It’s really a case of watch this space!“

Steve Harrison, Growth Capital Director, Santander Corporate & Commercial, added: “This is the third round of funding provided from Santander’s Growth Capital Fund in the space of 4 years which is testament to Thai Leisure Group’s success and the rate at which the business is expanding. The business is one of the fastest growing and exciting in the sector with huge potential for future growth and it is great to be able to support Martin, Kim and the team in the next stage of their journey in taking Thai Leisure and their brands nationwide.“

Richard Feltham, Corporate Finance Partner at Garbutt & Elliott LLP, also commented: “We are delighted to have advised Martin and Kim on the finance-raising process and indeed as a firm, acted as advisers to TLG since their first restaurant opening in Leeds. There was significant interest from a range of funders in supporting this great business on the next stage of its growth but ultimately the Santander support was compelling. This growth capital funding is testament to the market opportunity for TLG , strength of its management team and the exciting roll-out proposition to capture the Thai market in the UK.”