Restaurant group Tasty admits it will open fewer sites than planned this year in response to post year-end trade falling below its expectations.
The company’s preliminary full-year accounts revealed some strong numbers, with turnover up 28% to £46m and gross profits increasing 26% to £5.3m Pre-opening profits rose 21%.
The group, which operates the Wildwood and Dim T brands, has implemented a programme of operational improvements during the period, including changes to its central kitchen infrastructure, and upgrades to a number of key systems.
But headline losses of £848,000 cast a shadow over the results, with the company taking impairment charges on poor units.
“The group has implemented turnaround strategies at these sites, including rebranding, in an effort to bring performance of these restaurants in line with the rest of the estate and will be assessing the success of these changes in the coming months and will take additional corrective steps where necessary,” said chairman Keith Lassman.
The more immediate concern for the group, which now operates 63 restaurants, is that trading since its fiscal year closed has been below expectations and management thinks it will remain challenging for the next 12 months at least.’
As result it has revised down the planned number of openings for the current year from 15 to 7 and anticipates headline operating profit falling below that achieved in 2016.
“The group is undertaking a full review of the estate and operational structure and is implementing a number of strategies to improve performance,” revealed Lassman.
He added: “The directors believe the group’s core ‘Wildwood’ brand remains attractive to customers and the group is taking positive action to address the expected financial performance and ensure growth in the future.”
The scaling back of its expansion plans comes after a busy period of store growth for the company. It opened 13 Wildwood restaurants last year and a further two since year-end.