Wildwood Restaurants owner Tasty Plc said yesterday that it is budgeting to open 17 new restaurants next year despite impairment costs against five sites causing it to suffer a pre-tax loss of £2.3m for the first half of the year.
Sales at the group, which also operates the Wildwood Kitchens and Dim t brands, rose a healthy 28% to £21.8m for the six-month period as it launched four new sites and a further three in the past two months to take its estate to 55 units.
Chairman Keith Lassman said the group successfully implemented its programme of operational improvements during the period, including changes to the central kitchen infrastructure and upgrades to a number of key systems.
Appointments have been made across the group in operations, marketing, finance and HR departments to support future openings and the group’s expansion, while its websites and the wider digital marketing strategy continue to be developed.
Aside from the five units it has taken impairment charges against, Lassman said that trade remains in line with expectations across the wider estate and the group is benefitting from a number of cost savings, which are offsetting pressures on direct input costs.
The Group is currently undertaking construction on three sites and expects to start construction on at least a further four sites during Q4 of 2016. The Board has reviewed its property pipeline and now expects to open fifteen restaurants in 2017.
“The group continues to expand its operations through new openings. Actions are regularly taken to improve profitability at all sites, increasing sales through updated menus and improving food and labour margins,” he said.
Lassman added that the group continues to evaluate new sites for further acquisitions.