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‘We can be a long-term winner’ – TRG boss confident it has taken sufficient steps to recover

The Restaurant Group

The Restaurant Group put on a brave face today as it reported numbers for the first half of the year.

Sales for the six months to the end of June decreased from £516m to £227m but came amidst a national lockdown and the restructuring of vast parts of its business.

Following the closure of all its sites in March, the company – which owns brands such as Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s – puts its restaurant teams and the vast majority of head office on furlough, leaving a small core team managing the business.

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In addition, the business worked with its suppliers, HMRC, and landlords to agree payment plans to defer payments and the remaining management team took pay cuts, reducing the cash-burn of the business to around £3.5m per month.

It also placed its Chiquito and Food & Fuel businesses into administration with the permanent closure of 52 sites and conducted a CVA of its Leisure division. That led to it exiting the leases on 128 trading sites permanently closed as a result of Covid-19.

The net result of these changes to the estate has meant that the reduction in the Leisure estate that was expected to be completed over the next five years was effectively achieved in five months, completing shortly after the half year.

In order to improve our liquidity position, TRG raised £54.6m of equity via a placing and accessed an additional £25.0m of debt facilities which further strengthened the balance sheet.

CEO Andy Hornby said: “It has been an extraordinary and difficult period for the hospitality sector but one in which we have pulled together to achieve a great deal.

“The priority throughout has been the safety of our colleagues and customers, and we have also accelerated the reshaping of our portfolio, resulting in a higher quality, diversified estate.

“Since reopening, I am genuinely pleased with the strength of our trading performance and would like to sincerely thank each and every one of our colleagues for their extraordinary efforts.

“Whilst the sector outlook is uncertain, and we are mindful of recent restrictions across the UK, we are confident that the actions we have taken provide us with strong foundations to emerge as one of the long-term winners.”

The company said that 90% of its estate has now reopened since restrictions were lifted on 4 July and strong like-for-like sales have been achieved in all divisions apart from Concessions, which has been heavily impacted by travel disruptions.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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