Busaba to trial new 'vibey' wet-led concept

By Shwetali Sapte

- Last updated on GMT

Busaba to trial new 'vibey' wet-led concept

Related tags Busaba Thai cuisine Multi-site R200 London

Busaba is to trial a new wet-led concept targeted at a younger audience in London’s Westfield Stratford.

The new brand will offer Thai influenced small plates and be largely focused on drinks and will be trialled for about 18 months at Busaba’s existing restaurant site at Westfield Stratford. The original restaurant will relocate to another area within the shopping centre and is due to open in September.

“It will be a bit more vibey, more high energy whereas Busaba is more relaxed and at the top end of premium casual dining,” CEO Winston Matthews told Restaurant​’s sister title MCA​.

“The new one will be pitched at a lower spend and shorter dwell time.”

Matthews, who took the helm at the Alan Yau-founded, 10-strong Thai concept in March, says the new brand reflects a change in demographics at the shopping centre, which is attracting a younger crowd and has become more of a destination following the opening of the Elizabeth line.

The expanded drinks menu at the new concept will include an extensive non-alcoholic selection in a nod to low-to-no alcohol trends among younger people.

“Stratford has changed massively in the past few years, so we’re targeting those new demographics,” adds Matthews. “I’m not treating it as a pop-up, but as a solid individual standalone brand.”

Busaba previously trialled a speakeasy-style concept called Ajia​ in the basement of its Oxford restaurant in 2022, which is now closed, but Matthews has hinted that there may be more bars in the pipeline following the trial at Stratford.

The Thai restaurant brand is looking to return to the expansion trail, with Matthews believing there is an opportunity for at least three or four more restaurants in London. The brand also opened its first site outside the
capital, in the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, last year.

“We’ve definitely got some dark spots on our map in London,” he says. “There are also lots of empty sites in suburban towns and cities around London.”

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