Rosa's Thai Café
Rosa’s Thai Café

Alex Moore, managing director of Rosa’s Thai Café, describes its journey to success with GrowthAccelerator.

ABOUT THE BUSINESS:

With its roots in the East End of London, Rosa’s Thai Café has built a reputation for serving some of the best Thai food in London.

OUR GROWTH JOURNEY SO FAR:

In 2008, I was running a digital agency in Hong Kong, where I met my wife, who is from Thailand. We set up a restaurant out there and ran it successfully for a couple of years before moving back to the UK.

We found the dining experience in Thai restaurants back in the UK so disappointing that we decided to try and better it.

As the idea grew, we set up a couple of stalls at the Sunday market in Brick Lane, which then led to us leasing an old café on the edge of Spitalfields market called Rosa’s in 2008.

The opening party was chaos but proved to be a big hit thanks to the fantastic food that kept coming out of the kitchen. From there we didn’t look back, and it was immensely satisfying to watch the business succeed.

THE CHALLENGE:

We made a lot of mistakes as we built the business, but I believe that, as long as you learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them in the future, then this is the only way to really learn and improve what you are doing. By July 2012, our gross profit was close to £1 million, but our net profit was just £22,000.

GETTING THE RIGHT ADVICE:

At that point we found GrowthAccelerator. I had a meeting with them to discuss how they could help. I wanted to speak to people who had experience of growing a business and selling it successfully.

We interviewed several people and ended up choosing two coaches to help us; Barbara, to help us expand successfully, and Tom, to help us with access to finance as well as our finances and legal structure. The main advantage is that they didn’t want anything from us in return for their help. They came into our business to enable us to reach certain goals – to help us, not to help themselves.

IMPLEMENTING CHANGE:

Our coaches helped us to streamline our operation and merge our businesses together to form one legal entity. They helped us with leadership and management training, as well as implementing an appraisal system. Also, crucially, they put us in touch with a Thai language company so that we could translate all the health and safety laws for our chefs, who are from Thailand.

At the end of the process, we were actually sad to see the coaches leave the company as they had been so instrumental in helping us to grow and manage how the business was run.