Wagamama reports turnover growth, PBT down: Wagamama has reported that turnover grew 12.8% to £159.2m in the year to 27 April 2014. Operating profit grew by 0.7% to £16.98m. Adjusted restaurant Ebitda grew by 9.7% to £26.4m but investment in central overheads, as the company plans for the growth expected in the future, offset this performance. Administrative expenses grew by more than £9m to £53.7m from £44.5m the year before. Pre-tax profit declined £15,942,000 from £17,575,000 the year before. The company opened 14 restaurants in the year and closed one, with the overall UK estate growing to 107 sites and 35 restaurants operated under franchise agreements. Average number if employees grew to 3,395 from 2,927 the year before. No dividend was paid. The company saw exceptional income of £2,779,000 from the early exit of a lease offset by costs in relation to changes in the senior executive team (£586,000), costs arising from abortive sites (£270,000) costs associated with the flooding of a restaurant (£623,000), a review of impaired assets (£1,612,000) and franchise territory provision (£240,000). The exceptional costs in this period resulted in a tax charge of £411,000. Wagamama is planning to open 50 more restaurants, creating up to 2,000 jobs, as it ramps up its expansion plans, The Daily Express claimed this week. Owned by private equity firm Duke Street Capital, the company has asked property agents to find appropriate locations.
Worcester Italian to switch to better burger to side-step Italian saturation: An Italian restaurant in Worcester is set for a radical change in concept, due to the city’s “saturated” Italian eatery market. Puccini’s, which has been on Friar Street for 12 years, is set to relaunch itself as better burger brand Burgerworks. The increasing number of Italian restaurants in the city has forced the hand of owners Arvin and Therese Gautama. As well as Puccini’s, Worcester also boasts Carluccio’s, Zizzi’s, Galleria Italiana, Benedicto’s, Valentino’s and PizzaExpress. Burgerworks will be the city’s first dedicated burger restaurant when it opens next month, according to the couple. Mrs Gautama said: “We’re sorry to see Puccini’s go but feel there’s a real gap in the market at the moment for simple, rustic burgers using good quality, local ingredients.There’s nothing like it in the area. The Italian restaurant market in Worcester has become increasingly saturated and we’ve felt for some time that Worcester needs something new and fresh, so Burgerworks was born. We feel very passionately about [Puccini’s] but since the all the chains opened here it’s really changed the market and it’s become more difficult.” Puccini’s will serve its last pizza on Saturday, 27 September before reopening on Friday, 3 October in the same premises.