Thai Leisure Group has announced plans to open Thaikhun in Manchester's Spinningfields next month, adding a new concept to the company's portfolio of brands.
The firm behind the premium fine-dining Chaophraya and buffet Chaobaby restaurant brands said Thaikhun will provide an all-day menu offer with a mid-range price point of £14 to £15 for around 120 to 130 covers.
Following the launch of the Spinningfields site in June, Thai Leisure Group will open a second Thaikhun restaurant in Union Square, Aberdeen, in a bid to test the formats in two different types of location.
Jason Almeida, commercial director, explained: "Spinningfields is interesting in terms of being a business district, but one with a nice blend of the usual suspects like Nando's, Wagamamas, Carluccio's and Giraffe at one end and the independents and local heroes like Living Ventures with the Alchemist, Australasia and the Oast House, and even the top-end Manchester House, at the other.
"We'd like nothing better than to have a Thai restaurant in that environment, which has very much become a dining destination."
He continued: "Then we chose Union Square because it is smack bang in the middle of a shopping centre, with a lot more families coming to shop, probably going to see a movie, so with plenty of footfall but of a different kind.
"We want to see how the brand works in these two environments and eventually roll it out into different locations."
Almeida said the company would consider opening more Thaikhuns this year if the right sites came up, but at this stage it has no plans to do so due to its aim to open two more Chaophrayas to increase the brand presence.
Thaikhun will serve sharing plates of street food for grazing style eating alongside popular Thai classics but in a different format, such as curry taster bowls featuring both red and green curry, rice and pad Thai noodles. It will feature a rustic interior design that includes wooden floors, Thai antiques and bric-a-brac and an open kitchen.
Almeida said the company chose Manchester to launch the new concept because its brands are already quite well known within the city.
Thai Leisure Group has eight Chaophraya restaurants, typically accommodating 200 to 300 covers, across Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and two Chaobabys, in Manchester's Trafford Centre and Sheffield's Meadowhall.
It also operates one standalone restaurant in Liverpool called Yee Rah, which offers a mixture of Thai food and British/European staples such as burgers, pasta and pizza, but the company has no plans to roll out this brand as it looks to focus on Thai food alone.