London-based premium chain calls it a day at The Printworks despite trading ‘positively’

London-based Thai restaurant chain Busaba Eathai is to close its Manchester branch at the Printworks, just fourteen months after opening.

A spokesperson for the group said despite trading ‘positively’ and ‘some great feedback’, the restaurant would nonetheless be closing its doors on Monday 3 April following a final weekend’s trade.

The spokesperson blamed ‘the number of openings in the city over the last 12 months’ and admitted that the restaurant had not reached a ‘desired position in the agreed timescales’.

They assured us that current Manchester staff would be offered opportunities elsewhere in the business.

“We have loved being in Manchester, we’ve met some amazing people, forged some fantastic partnerships and will miss the city,” said the spokesperson, “we are optimistic we will return”.

Busaba 14
Busaba, The Printworks

Following launches in Manchester and Liverpool in early-2016, the 17-strong restaurant chain had reported strong end of year results with a turnover boost of 6% to £27.7m for the year ending 28 May 2016.

A £17m funding package agreed in June 2016, meanwhile, led to two more openings in Oxford Circus and St Albans, Hertfordshire.

However, Busaba Eathai CEO Jason Myers warned in November that the fall in the value of sterling plus the ‘absorption of the National Living Wage’ could pose challenges for the group going forward.

Confidential also understands that Busaba in Liverpool – opened in March last year – is currently under ‘review’.

There were of course a few raised eyebrows when Busaba announced The Printworks as their chosen location in 2015, with many wondering how the acclaimed premium restaurant chain would fare alongside Tiger Tiger, Walkabout and Las Iguanas.   

Needless to say, even the draw of the renovated Corn Exchange and new look Exchange Square opposite were not enough to tempt serious diners into the lively entertainment complex.

Busaba Manchester closes on Monday 3 April.

Statement from Busaba:

Busaba Eathai will close its Manchester restaurant on 3 April and is reviewing options for its Liverpool site.

A spokesperson for Busaba said: “Whilst Manchester has traded positively and we have had some great feedback from our guests, due to the number of openings in the city over the last 12 months, the restaurant is not in the desired position in the agreed timescales. This has been a very difficult decision, but a commercial one taken for the greater good of our business.

“Any decisions made are to ensure Busaba emerges a more agile, fitter and stronger business. Our new openings at Oxford Circus and St Albans as well as the two RooBox sites and our brand refurbishments at Soho and Hoxton are all performing well. We are substantially investing in our core business this year, refurbishing another five to six sites in as many months.

“We have loved being in Manchester – we’ve met some amazing people, forged some fantastic partnerships and will miss the city, but we are optimistic we will return.

"Busaba will continue to put the spotlight on its people, training and F&B development whilst investing in technology, including the successful Busaba Path of Enlightenment Loyalty App, and improving the Busaba To Go delivery and takeaway proposition. 

"All Manchester team members have been offered opportunities to remain within the Busaba family and the company is working closely to support colleagues through this transition."