Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s- owner Restaurant Group hails ‘good progress’ as profits bounce back to £11.2m but warns of staff shortages
- The Restaurant Group operates 400 pubs and restaurants across the UK
- It reported an adjusted core profit of £11.2 million for the 27 weeks ended 4 July
- Since Wagamama re-opened for eat-in, it has seen a LFL sales growth of 21%
Wagamama-owner Restaurant Group hailed ‘good progress’ over the past half-year and forecast an increase in 2021 profit as it gave a trading update on Wednesday.
The company, which operates 400 pubs and restaurants across the UK, said its recovery has been spearheaded by strong performances by its Wagamama pan-Asian chain and the group’s pub arm.
The Restaurant Group also owns Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, Coast to Coast and Firejacks.
Wagamama-owner Restaurant Group hailed ‘good progress’ over the past half-year and forecast an increase in 2021 profit as it gave a trading update on Wednesday
It reported an adjusted core profit of £11.2 million for the 27 weeks ended 4 July, compared with a loss of £18.3 million pounds last year.
TRG says since Wagamama re-opened for dine-in, it has seen ‘consistently strong trading’, with like-for-like sales growth of 21 per cent, representing a 13 per cent outperformance versus the market.
The launch of a lighter summer dishes and a commitment to a 50 per cent plant-based menu by the end of 2021 were highlighted as two of the key drivers.
The chain is now on track to open five new restaurants in the UK this year, and several more in the US as part of a joint venture.
Meanwhile, TRG’s pubs saw sales up 12 per cent thanks to a number of measures put in place, including the installation of more than 30 covered outside areas, more flexible staff hours and the introduction of a new online booking system.
Commenting on the results, chief executive 0fficer Andy Hornby said: ‘We have made good progress in the past six months, securing the refinancing and recapitalisation of the Group in the first quarter before focusing our attention on the re-opening of the business and welcoming back dine-in customers as government restrictions eased.
‘I am particularly proud of the way that our teams have pulled together to support one another, ensuring a great experience for our customers and delivering a strong like-for-like sales outperformance versus the market.’
Despite the better-than-expected figures, challenges around labour shortages and supply chain constraints flagged by the company sent its shares down 2.8 per cent.
The labour shortages are not unique to Britain, but Brexit made matters worse, industry groups say, with an exodus of European drivers.
Fast-food giant McDonalds, chicken restaurant chains Nandos and KFC have all pulled some items off their British menu following the shortages, and the country’s leading employers are pushing the government to take action.
Restaurant Group’s shares were trading down 3.8 per cent, or 4.6p, at 116.6p at 11.30am. The shares have climbed from lows of near 40p in autumn.
The casual dining boom saw Restaurant Group shares soar but they then sank towards the tail end of the last decade and were hammered by lockdown