Food & Drink

Village ethos behind Leeds-based Thai food empire

Kim Kaewkraikhot, who started out running a street food stall in Bangkok, now has 11 restaurants across the UK with more planned over the next few years. With her partner Martin Stead they own the Thai Leisure Group, which has just secured £10m from Santander to expand further. Kim's first restaurant Chaophraya opened in the centre of Leeds on December 4, 2004. With the new investment from Santander the Thai Leisure Group's plans for expansion continue, with six more restaurants planned for next year and seven the year after. ‘This is the calm before the storm’, says Kim, whose business turns over £25m and employs 500. The aim is to have 30 Chaophrayas across the UK and beyond.


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