Spreading its tentacles across the South East, Giggling Squid will be inaugurating its seventh restaurant in Marlow later this year.
The fast expanding Thai chain now has venues in Brighton, Crawley, Henley, Hove, Reigate and Tunbridge Wells, in addition to the soon to open Marlow eatery.
Diners can expect a delicious selection of locally sourced fish, from Ginger Soy Scallops to Steamed Sea Bass fillets through to the signature ‘Giggling Squid’. The dish contains several baby squids filled with minced chicken, steamed and fried in batter; the sauce balances hot and sweet flavours, creating a sumptuous introduction to seafood.
A classic selection of Thai curries is also on offer, in addition to a mouth-watering array of stir fries, all of which have been prepared with a great attention to ingredients.
For lunchtime eating, the tasting ‘sets’ or Thai tapas is an excellent way to try lots of different dishes in one go.
For those who are not fans of fish, there is a mixed offering of Duck, Lamb and Beef all prepared using traditional Thai recipes.
Perhaps the most inventive thing about the restaurant chain, aside from the food, is the imaginative name.
“I was just mucking about with the kids and the oldest described the youngest as a ‘wriggling fish’ and my little girl started giggling and the name ‘Giggling Squid’ just came to me”, says restaurant owner Andy Laurillard.
Before becoming a successful restaurateur with his wife, Pranee, Andy worked in marketing and advised some of the FTSE 100’s top companies. Was it much of a challenge making the shift? Andy had one: “It’s very hard to keep the weight under control!”
Andy went on to speak of the rollercoaster success the restaurant has enjoyed since that first venue opened in Hove five years ago.
“We knew that we were onto something when we were full within the first hour of opening. I believe we got the look right, the venue we created was much more casual, modern and rustic than the usual Thai restaurant, which can sometimes be a bit clichéd.
“It all fitted together with rustic exposed brickwork inside, it just set it apart from the other venues down here.”
Andy added: “My wife runs the kitchens and she has quite a high standard, so we spend an awful lot of time training the chefs. We find a lot of people come for lunch, like the offering and then come back for an evening meal.”
Despite the chain’s runaway success, there is no overriding blueprint according to Andy. He said: “With each venue we try to bring the character out of the building, we do not have a blue print necessarily. Take our Henley restaurant for example; we had a lovely oak frame building and we just needed to bring its character to the fore.”
Whilst there may be no strict design theme, there is a strong use of recycled local materials, often sourced from the beach.
Rustic, local design and authentic Thai cuisine has proved a winning combination, giggling Squid has budgeted for net sales to exceed of £5m this year and Staff numbers are projected grow by 120, hitting 200 by the year end.
Both Andy and Pranee share ambitious expansion plans, intending to extend their operations to 80 sites over the next seven years.
“We expect to encounter growth issues when we reach 10 sites and need to put in another management tier – but we are already experiencing significant economies of scale and we learn with each new opening,” said Andy. “There are no national Thai restaurant chains despite the increasing popularity of the cuisine – we intend to be the first – it’s all about getting the food right.”
For more information please visit: www.gigglingsquid.com.
K&M Equipment Ltd
K&M Equipment Ltd specialise in the supply and maintenance of commercial catering equipment for the hospitality sector. The company has been in operation for over 13 years however managing director Kevin Warnett brings more than 30 years’ experience to his role, overseeing all of the company’s varied projects.
The majority of K&M Equipment Ltd’s work is on smaller-scale projects, working on a varied mix, from golf clubs and restaurants through to hotels and pubs. K&M Equipment Ltd not only supplies equipment, it also maintains it, ensuring that all its equipment remains in working order.
Working on Giggling Squid Reigate, K&M Equipment Ltd designed and built the kitchen, including the extraction system. K&M Equipment Ltd helped with the acquisition of planning permission by providing detailed drawings and specifications to meet current legislation for a Listed building.
Discussing the importance of working with Giggling Squid, K&M Equipment Ltd Managing Director, Kevin Warnett, said:
“We conduct a great deal of work for Giggling Squid. We started with servicing their existing sites before moving on to become their main kitchen equipment supplier.”
Discussing the Reigate site, Kevin added:
“Andy Laurillard took on a major project here and it was great to be involved with him on this venue.”