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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 20th Mar 2019 - Update: Tasty and Ten Entertainment Group results, new CFO at Ivy Collection
Tasty focuses on restructuring business and improving profitability, no new sites in 2019: Wildwood operator Tasty has said it does not intend to open any restaurants in 2019 as it continues to focus on restructuring the business and improving profitability from the existing portfolio. It comes as the company announced its preliminary results for the year ending 30 December 2018. Revenue was down 6% to £47.28m, compared with £50.31m the year before due to site closures and like-for-like sales decline. Adjusted Ebitda dropped to £1.58m, compared with £3m the previous year. The company sold three restaurants and closed one in 2018. Post year-end, the company sold one site and assigned two. One further site has been exchanged and is waiting for completion. The group currently operates 58 restaurants, comprising six Dim t and 52 Wildwood sites. The company said market conditions have been increasingly challenging through 2018 and the board’s expectation was there would be no significant improvement in 2019. The group gave a rundown of sites it has disposed of as follows: Canary Wharf Wildwood – lease for the property was assigned on 5 January 2018 for a premium receivable by the group of £1.45m. Abingdon Wildwood Kitchen – a surrender of the lease was agreed on 14 January 2018. Barnes Wildwood Kitchen – the lease was assigned at £nil value to the group; Gloucester Road Wildwood – on 8 March 2018 the unit was sold as a going concern for £2.7m. Highgate Centuno –closed in May 2018 and the company is looking to dispose. Cobham Wildwood – on 8 January 2019 this unit was sold as a going concern for a consideration of £0.35m to the landlord of the site. South Woodford Wildwood – On 31 January 2019 this was assigned for a total consideration of £0.15m. Tunbridge Wells – this site was previously sub-let to CAU and a new tenant from 6 March 2019 for a consideration of £0.05m. The group said it continues to review the estate and will make further disposals in 2019 if appropriate. Chairman Keith Lassman said: “As highlighted previously, the market conditions for 2018 continued to remain extremely challenging. In addition, unfavourable weather conditions and the World Cup impacted 2018 performance. The exceptionally cold and snowy winter supressed sales. Trading over the Christmas period was positive, though the uncertainty of Brexit has meant that 2019 has started slowly. 2018 has been a transitional year for Tasty. In line with the agreed strategy, three restaurants were sold, one closed and no new restaurants were opened in 2018. There are a number of sites that the group is still planning to dispose of and at present the board has no plans to open any new sites in 2019. Despite the fall in financial performance experienced in 2018 the group remains cash generative. We have undertaken a full review of our food offering and customer journey and we continue to take steps to ensure our menu remains relevant and we are able to differentiate ourselves from the competition in the sector. The directors believe that the group’s brands remain attractive to customers and the group has the right strategic plan in place to ensure future growth.”
Ten Entertainment Group reports like-for likes up 5.1% in 2019, trialling darts and escape rooms concepts: Ten Entertainment Group, the UK operator of bowling and family entertainment centres, has reported like-for-like sales for the first 11 weeks of 2019 are up 5.1%. The company also revealed it is trialling a technology-based darts product at its Star City site in Birmingham with automated scoring system, and an escape room concept at its Southampton venue. The trials will be monitored throughout 2019. It comes as Ten Entertainment Group reported its results for the year ending 30 December 2018. Adjusted Ebitda increased 8% to £20.6m, compared with £19m the year before. Adjusted pre-tax profit rose 4% to £13.5m, compared with £13m the previous year. Spend per head grew 3.9% in the year to £14.76, compared with £14.21 the year before, with footfall down about 1% due to the impact of hot weather, particularly in July. As previously reported, total sales were up 7.5% to £76.4m, compared with £71m the previous year. Like-for-like sales increased 2.7%. Four sites were acquired during the year – in Warrington, Chichester, Leeds and Luton at a total cost of £4.1m – and one underperforming venue, Maidenhead, was closed. The site was historically loss-making prior to a lease re-gear in 2017 and was earmarked for demolition to make way for the Crossrail project. During 2019, it expects to grow the estate further, in line with previous guidance of two to four sites per year. It has entered into an agreement to buy an existing bowling alley in Southport, taking the total estate to 44 sites. Three existing sites – Worcester, Rochdale and York – benefited from refurbishments at a total cost of £750,000. Meanwhile, its Pins & Strings technology was added to 13 venues at a total cost of £2.7m, with 19 sites in total now having been converted. It expects to introduce the technology to about a further 12 sites during 2019. During 2018, Ten Entertainment Group completed lease re-gears at seven sites. The company said it remained confident there was an attractive pipeline of acquisitions available and will continue to seek to identify the right opportunities to continue to grow the estate. Chief executive Duncan Garrood said: “The business is in excellent shape as reflected in the strong results reported. Following my review of the company strategy, I am pleased to endorse that it continues to be the right way to grow our business. However, there are further opportunities to develop the existing estate through improvements in the customer experience, food and beverage quality, innovation and the acquisition of new sites. We will also explore the potential of building new sites at available retail locations. I am pleased to say the new year has begun in line with our expectations.” Chairman Nick Basing added: “We have had another good year on all key metrics and have substantially increased the dividend. Our simple two-pronged strategy of investing in driving organic growth and developing scale benefits through high returning acquisitions is proving increasingly successful. Despite the political and economic uncertainty currently, we are well placed to enjoy the latent consumer demand for our unique brand of experiential leisure across the country. We anticipate further good growth and profitable progress this year.”
Ivy Collection appoints new CFO: The Ivy Collection has appointed Jonathan Peters as chief financial officer. Peters joins from Everyman Media Group, where he has been chief financial officer for the past four years. Ivy Collection chief executive David Campbell said: “Richard Caring and I look forward to welcoming Jonathan to the executive team at The Ivy Collection. Jonathan is a very commercial chief financial officer, with extensive international experience, and at Everyman has shown a well proven ability to help drive both top and bottom-line results in a multi-site environment. All of The Ivy Collection is trading well, and we have further openings planned for June in Glasgow and September in Oxford, and an ever-growing number of potential sites, which we hope to progress with very soon.” Peters will remain with Everyman until Friday, 14 June “to ensure an orderly handover of his role and responsibilities”. Everyman has begun the process to identify a successor and said a further announcement would be made in due course. Chairman Paul Wise said: “The board would like to express its thanks to Jonathan for his valuable contribution to the group over the past four years and wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

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