EAT has become the latest UK foodservice chain rumoured to be considering store closures, with reports this morning claiming that consultants were brought in several months ago to advise on its restructuring options.
According to Sky News sources, the chain – which numbers approximately 100 shops – is considering what it calls a “substantial” reorganisation of its portfolio.
It claims that EAT’s management appointed KPMG to explore its options at the end of last year and suggested that the chain is “likely” to press ahead with plans to reduce costs by closing “a number” of branches.
Sky speculated that a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a mechanism that other chains such as Byron have used to reduce their obligations to creditors such as landlords – was among the options put on the table by KPMG, but an EAT spokesperson told the news channel that it was not working on a CVA.
Eat is majority-owned by Lyceum Capital, a private equity firm, which took control of the business seven years ago.
In that period it has undergone several management teams, with Andrew Walker, who previously worked for Pret, currently occupying the hotseat.
Sky said that accounts for the year to June 2017 show 5% growth in like-for-like sales, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation up 19% to £4.3m.