Andy Lennox has stepped down as chief executive of Koh Thai Tapas, the business he founded almost 10 years ago, to pursue a new venture.
He has signed a lease on a site in Ashley Cross, near Poole, in Dorset, for what will be the first location for Zim Braai - a southern African inspired concept, with further sites currently under negotiation.
Lennox, who is also owner of Lion Consultancy, plans to open several restaurants across Dorset over the next couple of years.
Lennox told MCA that after 10 years at Koh it felt like the right time to try something new, and that he had full control over. He stepped down in August, following the merger with Buenos Aires Restaurants earlier this year.
“It was time to hand over the reins and let them continue the expansion and take it to that less boutique level, and for me to go on and do what I do best which is finding that next trend,” he said.
The restaurant, at 99 Commercial Road, is set to open on 28 November on the site of a former Mediterranean restaurant From the South. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with three very defined menus and atmospheres.
He said he was looking to open “five in five”, with a focus on high street locations, and was currently in lease negotiations on two other sites, both in Dorset – where he lives and his family is based. “It is a flat market out there at the moment, but at the flip side it’s a good market to expand into,” he said.
Lennox said he had had “upteem ideas” over the years, but he felt like this one was particularly special. “There were so many things that potentially I wanted to do with Koh over the years which we weren’t able to do, such as different markert, but with this new concept I can do that.”
While he would not be drawn on the specifics of the new concept yet and the style of the cuisine, he said he believes there is no one else doing anything else quite like it at the moment, and that he was looking to bring “a bold new flavour”, with nice and healthy with lots of fresh produce.