Loungers has revealed that sales during the first month of trading since lockdown measures were eased saw a decline of around 2% year-on-year.
The 165-strong operator of neighbourhood cafes and restaurants said that like-for-like sales fell 1.7% during the period from 4 July, when its phased reopening commenced, through to 2 August.
Given the public has been cautious about eating out and revisiting restaurants, the decrease will be interpreted by some commentators as a solid start for the business, which runs the Lounge and Cosy Club brands.
Loungers said it has now reopened all of the sites in its estate, with the exception of Cosy Club in Leicester, which will begin trading again from Friday.
“Whilst these are still early days, we are encouraged by the initial strength of our trading performance to date and remain confident the company will emerge strongly from this period,” it stated.
Loungers will next update the market in late September when it publishes its preliminary results for the year ending 19 April 2020.
Back in June, when all its stores were closed, Loungers revealed it was planning to test the impact that smaller menus could have on kitchen efficiencies and assess whether revised restaurant layouts could support the introduction of physical distancing rules.
“We are looking to trial order-at-table technology, for example, and whilst this is something we have ruled out several times in the past, we would be keen to try it post lockdown if it makes a minority of our customers feel more comfortable,” it stated.
“Likewise, we are considering menu size, understanding what efficiencies we might achieve with slightly smaller menus, a change we will trial whilst operating physical distancing in our kitchens.”