Thai food is thriving in the UK, thanks to a rise in the number of pan-Asian restaurants all over the country. In this article, we provide a rundown of the top Thai restaurant franchises in the UK.
The Oriental Food Report commissioned by Asian grocer Wing Yip found that Brits are becoming more and more adventurous with the food they’re eating. Of the 3,000 people surveyed, 39 percent eat Thai food regularly, and a further 20 percent opt for Japanese. So, if you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for the restaurant industry and a love of Thai food, why not consider starting a Thai restaurant franchise unit? With the ongoing support of the franchisor, you could be operating your own successful business in no time.
Reasons why starting a Thai restaurant franchise unit is a great idea
1. Thailand is a top holiday destination
The rise in popularity of Thai restaurant franchises can be attributed to the increasing numbers of tourists choosing to holiday in south-east Asia. Both solo travellers and families are flocking to the tropical paradise to enjoy its beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and vibrant street food scene; many of which want to continue tasting the delicious flavours when they touch down in the UK. After falling in love with the cuisine on holiday, it’s likely that they will choose Thai cuisine when eating out.
2. You can tap into the healthy eating trend
People are drawn to Thai cuisine because of its bold flavours and vibrant colours. But one aspect of Thai food that shouldn’t be overlooked is it’s potential to appeal to health-conscious customers, as it is largely comprised of lean proteins, vegetables, fresh herbs and spices. The health food market is big business at the moment, so starting a Thai restaurant franchise unit that caters to this could prove incredibly lucrative.
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Top Thai restaurant franchises in the UK
1. Thai Express
Thai Express is a quick-service restaurant that uses the freshest ingredients to create the most authentic Thai flavours. Customers head there for its traditional recipes served up at record speed.
- Becoming a Thai Express franchisee: While you don’t need any previous experience in the restaurant industry, it is, of course, looked upon fondly. If you’re passionate about business and have excellent customer service, you’re encouraged to apply.
- How much you need to invest: You need to be able to invest a minimum of £50,000 and a total of £150,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll take part in an advanced training programme that gets you to grips with everything from food preparation to bookkeeping.
While Camile isn’t predominantly a sit-down Thai restaurant franchise, it does offer the tasty cuisine in a takeaway format. It’s the fastest growing online delivery restaurant group in the UK and Ireland. Aromatic Thai food is cooked fresh and delivered to hungry customers within 30 minutes.
- Becoming a Camile franchisee: It’s a booming franchise, but opportunities are rare and highly prized. Therefore, you’ll need to be an impressive candidate and have access to a good level of investment to have a chance of buying into this particularly successful operation. Camile is on the lookout for franchisees that want to open multi-unit businesses in the future and are located in the South of England.
- What you get for your investment: You will be supported with site selection and fit out, staff recruitment and more. This is on top of ongoing support.
Wok&Go is an Asian franchise that specialises in serving up a unique blend of Thai, Malay, Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian cuisines. With 22 sites around the UK, Wok&Go is rapidly expanding and becoming one of the UK’s most popular franchises to invest in.
Its specialist cooking teams design all Wok&Go's recipes and the franchise focuses on providing a complete experience for the customer. The emphasis is on producing healthy recipes that are prepared quickly for the customers’ convenience.
- Becoming a Wok&Go franchisee: The primary targets for development are in London, Manchester and the South of England.
- How much you need to invest: To invest in Wok&Go, you’ll need to raise a minimum of £100,000. The franchise fee is generally £15,000 plus VAT. However, the franchise estimates that at least £200,000 will be required to get the business up and running. You’ll also need a significant amount of working capital to fund your restaurant until it starts to turn a profit.
- What you get for your investment: In return, you’ll receive a turnkey store outfitting, which covers site selection, design, build and project management. All of this is performed in-house at Wok&Go, ensuring that prices are kept low. You’ll get full training, and you’ll be supported while you recruit and train your team. An area manager will be assigned to you to provide ongoing advice and support, so that help is on hand as and when you need it. Once your restaurant is up and running, you won’t have to worry about promoting the business, as Wok&Go runs national advertising and marketing campaigns on your behalf.
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4. Wok To Walk
Wok To Walk is the number one wok kitchen chain in Europe. There are currently over 85 Wok To Walk stores giving customers their healthy Asian food fix and taking the food service industry by storm.
- Becoming a Wok To Walk franchisee: The franchise opportunity is flexible. You can open a flagship store or a hole-in-the-wall spot, it’s up to you. It’s the versatile business model that attracts all types of customers. Wok To Walk is looking for entrepreneurs who share its ambitious expansion plans.
- How much you need to invest: Restaurant start-up costs can vary, but you can expect to contribute approximately £100,000 as a minimum investment.
- What you get for your investment: As well as operating under a globally recognised brand name, you will benefit from a tried and tested training programme. The HQ team works with franchisees and provides bespoke consultancy services and support.
Think about starting a Thai restaurant franchise
There aren’t very many Thai restaurant franchise opportunities circulating at the moment. However, if you are happy to offer takeaway services or also offer more varied Asian cuisine, there are much more to choose from. You might want to keep an eye on our noodle bar franchises page for when more franchises get added. Or you can see a full rundown of our restaurant franchises.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©