Fulham Shore said today that it is in negotiations for “many” sites throughout the UK to restart its expansion programme as soon as full restaurant trading resumes.
The owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek said it is only trading at 46% of what it would normally expect at the moment, but remains confident of getting back to pre-pandemic levels once restrictions are eased.
The company said it is benefitting from the availability of new sites at more attractive rates.
“The well-publicised difficulties in the property and restaurant sectors are providing the group with opportunities to acquire new sites at much reduced rents and lower capital costs per site,” it stated.
In addition to its existing commitment to open a new Franco Manca in Glasgow this summer, the group is in final negotiations to secure two more sites over the next few weeks, one for Franco Manca and another for The Real Greek.
“Subject to concluding these negotiations as anticipated, both these restaurants would be ready to start trading in the summer,” it revealed.
Fulham Shore’s restaurant estate currently comprises 53 Franco Manca restaurants and 19 The Real Greek restaurants.
Throughout the current third lockdown and Tier 4, which began on 20 December 2020, the group has been trading through delivery and take out services at 48 Franco Manca and 10 The Real Greek.
Each restaurant requires fewer people to operate a delivery and takeaway only service, so much of the group’s workforce is on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – either on full furlough or flexi-furlough – until normal trading patterns resume or such scheme ceases to be in place.