Red Hot World Buffet (RHWB), the north-based buffet restaurant operator, has revealed plans to grow its estate up to 80 venues as it launches Europe’s largest buffet in Manchester, writes Becky Paskin. The 360-cover restaurant in Manchester’s Deansgate launched last month with a 5,000sqft buffet – thought to be the largest in Europe – offering a variety of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Mediterranean, Italian, Indian and Tex Mex dishes cooked onsite by its brigade of 35 chefs. Its opening marked the sixth restaurant for the group, which has plans to grow its estate to eight venues by the end of the year. RHWB is currently fitting out a 15,000sq ft unit in Cardiff’s St Davids 2 shopping centre set for launch by the end of August, and is currently in legals over a 17,000sq ft site in Leicester and a 25,000sq ft prime site in Nottingham leisure park The Corner House, both of which are expected to open by November this year. The Corner House venue has been earmarked as a replacement for the group’s existing 5,000sq ft Nottingham site on Goosegate – the first RHWB launched in 2004. The group is also currently considering a large new-build site in Essex for its first southern venue for launch in 2012, after developers approached the company having noticed the success of the concept. Parmjit Dhaliwal, corporate director of RHWB who runs the business with wife Helen, said that the group had also been approached by several undisclosed private equity groups interested in investing in the brand. “We seem to be ticking all the boxes and as far as return on capital is concerned we’re probably providing the highest at the moment,” he said. “They want to invest in our concept and add 18 sites in next three years, taking us up to 25 sites. Overall we’re potentially looking at putting up 75-80 sites nationwide.” RHWB expects to more than double last year’s revenue of £10m by the end of 2011 with a forecasted turnover, taking into account the three new venues, of around £27m. It expects to make a profit of around £8m by year end. As such Dhaliwal said the group will only consider sites that have the potential to turnover at least £5m per year. “Once we’ve expanded in the north and Midlands we’ll look to do a nice site in the south. We won’t be looking at central London at first though; the first restaurants will be within the M25 corridor. “Our company has to get bigger first and get moving with the market more as well. The typical sites that are working just now are in the South East and east of London so we’ll go there first.” He added: “The economic climate has contributed to our success. The good old days when money was a plenty are over; now people are living on real incomes they want to stretch their money further and don’t want to take a chance or risk. They want to be guaranteed an experience and value for money and that’s been the biggest success for us. “Because we cook the food extremely well people relate us to more of an a la carte place than buffet. The food is displayed very nicely and prepared in front of the guests as well. Every aspect you could think of from a customer’s point of view we’ve taken care of and evolved over the period. Customers look for high quality and high value and we have all that. It’s about the right product, at the right time, at the right price.” RHWB also operates venues in Northampton, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Liverpool. While prices vary according to site, RHWB runs a lunch menu for around £7.99 weekdays and £8.99 weekends, and a dinner menu for £12.99 weekdays and £14.99 weekends.