The owner of the Real Greek and Franco Manca restaurant chains has said that business is booming and is ahead of pre-pandemic levels as office workers and theatregoers return to city centres.
Parent company the Fulham Shore reported a doubling of revenues and a return to profit in the six months to 26 September, with many of its 75 restaurants “continuing to break weekly trading records”.
“We have seen continued trading momentum in recent weeks, with revenues in October and November ahead of 2019 comparatives,” said David Page, chairman of the Fulham Shore. “This includes our office and theatre district-located restaurants, which are continuing to trade positively over the four weeks in November, achieving revenues ahead of the same weeks in 2019.”
The company said the spread of Omicron has so far failed to deter restaurant-goers, reporting “no impact” on trading from the emergence of the new coronavirus variant.
“With strong revenue growth in the half year and continued buoyant current trading, Fulham Shore is performing ahead of management’s expectations,” said Page. “This augurs well for the group’s full year performance, which we expect to be now ahead of market expectations, and our UK-wide expansion plans.” The company intends to open 10 new restaurants in its current financial year and is assessing 21 more locations.
The company reported revenues of £39.4m in its half-year, double the same period last year and on a par with the £40m generated the entire year to 28 March.
Page hailed the achievement highlighting that the restaurants were only able to trade without restrictions for dine-in customers for 10 of the 26 weeks of its half-year.
The Fulham Shore reported a £3m pre-tax profit in the half year to the end of September, compared with a £4.3m loss in the same period last year, and a £7.5m loss in its financial year to the end of March.
Looking ahead, Page said he expected the business to strengthen as more workers returned to the office and international tourism picked up next year.
“Over the next 12 months we expect footfall in these office-centric sites to continue to increase,” said Page. “Tourists from abroad have still to return in a meaningful way, but when they do this should provide further impetus to these city centre and the West End of London restaurants.”