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Thu 12th Nov 2020 - Exclusive: Individual Restaurants undergoing accelerated sales process
Exclusive – Individual Restaurants undergoing accelerated sales process: Individual Restaurants, which operates circa 30 sites under the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, is undergoing an accelerated sales process, after appointing advisers to explore its options, Propel has learned. The company, which is backed by Sir Malcolm Walker, the founder of frozen food chain Iceland, is understood to be working with the restructuring arm of Deloitte on its options, with bids for the business due this week. It is thought any process for the business will include a restructure. The sales process is understood to comprise the group’s Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, and not its joint venture with chef Gino D’Acampo. The business, which earlier this year parted company with long-term managing director Vernon Lord, currently operates 21 Piccolino sites and eight Bar & Grills across the country. Its joint venture with D’Acampo comprises eight sites. Sales in the 12 months to 30 March 2019 for Individual Restaurants declined from £61.8m to £58.4m, while group Ebitda fell from £7.1m to £6.5m. Propel understands average sites’ Ebitda across the group’s Piccolino restaurants is about £320,000, and closer to £400,000 for its Bar & Grill sites. In its group accounts filed at Companies House last month, the business stated: “As for all of us in the sector, lockdown was a painful and worrying time. Since reopening, sales and profits have exceeded our expectations. The size of our restaurants has allowed us to meet demand even with strict social distancing and dine-safe measures in place. We have limited exposure to central London, which has been the hardest hit and our affluent suburban locations have traded very well with the shift change towards home working and staycation Britain. Online continues to beat expectations. As we look to the winter with this second wave of the virus and restrictions imposed on eating out, there are challenging and uncertain times ahead. However, we are ready to weather the storm with the same resilience the business has delivered in lockdown, reopening and performance to date.” Earlier this year, the business launched its own premium collection and delivery service. It said: “The business goes from strength to strength and, with the changing consumer behaviour towards online, it will be a further focus for our growth in the future.” Post the group’s year end to 30 March 2019, the business finalised a new £36m banking facility and acquired a majority stake in Gino D’Acampo Worldwide Restaurants. In 2015, the company entered into a joint venture with the chef, to launch new restaurant brand Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant. It is understood Sir Malcolm Walker supported the Gino D’Acampo chain with a loan that was registered earlier in October. This came after the business led by the chef posted full-year sales of £12.4m, but losses of £2.9m.

Chancellor hints at winter Eat Out To Help Out scheme: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has dropped a major hint that a winter version of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme could be on the cards “to get consumers spending again” after lockdown. Sunak said there would be more measures to try and get people out and about again after encouraging news the UK economy grew 15.5% after the first shutdown. New stats from the Office of National Statistics showed a record economic bounce back through July to December. But the economy stayed 9.7% smaller than it was at the end of last year and, as new restrictions shuttered up shops and forced pubs to close, it is on track to shrink further. The Eat Out To Help Out discount saw Brits get up to 50% off meals and soft drinks, up to £10 per person, from Monday to Wednesday in August. The scheme is credited with getting the economy rumbling again as people flocked to restaurants, pubs and cafes. And when asked if a fresh version of Eat Out To Help Out could be rolled out to boost businesses after the latest shutdown, Sunak said he would be looking at similar economic measures. He told Sky News: “We’ll talk about specific measures but, more broadly, I think it’s right when we finally exit this [lockdown] and hopefully next year with testing and vaccines, we’ll be able to start to look forward to getting back to normal. We want to get consumers spending again, get them out and about, we’ll look at a range of things to see what the right interventions are at that time.” Brits took advantage of the scheme more than 100 million times during August, costing the exchequer £522m. Sunak also slashed VAT from 20% to 5% for the hospitality sector, helping boost sales for restaurants. Monthly GDP jumped 2.2% in August and was driven massively by Eat Out To Help Out. 

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