Giggling Squid looks to build strong 2021 pipeline after reporting £38.4m turnover

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Giggling Squid looks to build strong 2021 pipeline after reporting £38.4m turnover

Related tags Giggling squid Coronavirus Restaurant Casual dining Thai cuisine

Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid says it hopes to build a strong pipeline of openings in 2021, having remained in a 'commanding liquidity position' despite the impact of the pandemic.

The group saw turnover for the year ending 29 March 2020 rise by 16.3% to £38.4m.

Company EBITDA before exceptional costs fell by 10.5% on the previous year to £4.4m, which it says was due wholly to the pandemic's impact on the final three weeks of the financial year.

The company reports that it saw positive like-for-like sales and absolute company EBITDA growth for the first eleven months of the year, and successfully opened five new restaurants in Oxford, Chislehurst, Leamington Spa, Weybridge and Leicester.

Post year end, the business says it continued to ride the wave of pandemic challenges 'exceptionally well', securing an as yet un-utilised Business Interruption Loan and using various other state support measures where available.

Throughout the two Government lockdowns and tiering system, the company has pivoted between normal trading - with social distancing restrictions - and an ‘off site’ trading model of takeaway and delivery. 

In September this year the group opened a new location in Wheeler Street, Cambridge - its biggest restaurant site to date​, which has traded above expectations (lockdown aside).

More recently, the company used the second Government lockdown as an opportune time to invest in the refurbishment and expansion of its Clifton and Guildford branches. 

Giggling Squid continues to be supported by Barclays Bank and Business Growth Fund, and says it remains well financed with a commanding liquidity position.

It is looking to acquire a number of restaurant and retail units nationwide in the coming months to build a strong pipeline of openings for 2021.

“Our business has proven hugely resilient over the last year," says Andy Laurillard, co-founder and CEO.

"Our provincial estate benefitted from work from home patterns and our fantastic teams have done a terrific job pivoting to and from a break-even delivery/takeaway model, a true test of their morale.

"We are expecting further months of disrupted trading but see little risk to the business from these and we expect to recommence acquisitions after Christmas. 

"There is no doubt that for the few businesses whose model has allowed them to weather the last nine months, that there are some very good opportunities in the market.

"However, we are also somewhat cautious about what sort of economy we will emerge into when, as we hope, normality returns next summer.

"Our expansion will be measured, and we will be evaluating new sites against stricter performance metrics than we have previously applied."

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