Andy Lennox’s new South African-inspired restaurant business Zim Braai is negotiating its second site to join its inaugural 80-cover Poole, Dorset, venue.
Lennox, who stepped down as chief executive of Koh Thai Tapas last autumn, told MCA the new venue would open by the end of the year.
He was also looking to open in south-west London and “other cosmopolitan areas like Oxford”.
The business was still assessing future funding options and talking to different providers of loan notes and equity but nothing was currently fixed, Lennox said.
An equity raise could come early next year if he decided to opt for a faster rollout otherwise he could self-fund more slowly. “We are looking at doing a big fund raise down the line. That’s the next step but there’s no point in doing that until we’re ready.”
Lennox said he could not put a figure on how much he would like to raise. “It depends how quickly we want to grow and the appetite of the market. If we can get our second site under our belt, and that trades profitably as well, we will be in a much better position to go out and look at loan notes and equity.
“As a concept it’s got a lot of legs, it’s healthy, it’s fresh, nearly 80% of our list is gluten-free now. It ticks all the boxes of where dining is going – healthy food, not too much sugar, not too much salt, cooked over a Braai with not much oil,” he added.
This weekend sees Zim Braai kick off nearly two months of weekend pop-up events, beginning in upmarket Sandbanks. It has built an outdoor Braai – “a big old barbecue”.
Lennox is also keen that his restaurants are on a strong environmental footing. “We’ve gone carbon neutral now,” he said. “We want to become carbon free. We are trying to make sure that when we roll out the brand it is on a footing where it’s on the most sustainable footing we can possible roll out.”