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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 5th Feb 2020 - Update: Domino’s UK, Mowgli and Chipotle
Domino’s UK reports like-for-like sales up 3.9% in Fourth Quarter, dispute with franchisees ongoing: Domino’s UK has reported system sales growth of 4.4% in the UK and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) in its Fourth Quarter to 29 December 2019. In the UK, like-for-like sales were up 3.9%. Group system sales were £352m, with £326.7m of those sales in the UK and ROI. A total of 12 stores opened in UK and ROI in Quarter Four (UK: 12; ROI: 0). 32 stores opened in UK and ROI during 2019. UK online sales up 8.3% and Republic of Ireland online sales up 11.0%. UK and ROI online now accounts for 91.3% of delivery sales. The company stated: “International disposal process progressing, with the focus on Norway as a priority. The chairman recruitment process is progressing; further announcements will be made in due course. The search for an interim chief financial officer is at an advanced stage. UK and ROI operating profit expected to be within the range of current market expectations.” Chief executive David Wild said: “I am pleased with the performance of our core UK and Ireland markets, with system sales up 4.4% and UK like-for-likes up 3.9%, against a strong comparative and a competitive backdrop. This performance was driven by the power of our brand, our strong digital capabilities and the operational expertise of our franchisee partners. At the end of the period we announced the tragic passing of our chief financial officer, David Bauernfeind. David will be deeply missed by all who knew him and worked with him. He leaves behind a high-quality finance team who have shown remarkable resilience and dedication over the past month, and we are well advanced in the search for an interim chief financial officer. We look forward to announcing our preliminary results next month and updating the market on strategic progress made over the last few months.” The company added: “Following the success of the best-selling Cheeseburger pizza at the end of 2018, we launched the New York Hot Dog in late October 2019, selling almost 600,000 to date, an average of eight a minute. 12 new franchised stores opened in the UK during Q4, by 11 different franchisees. No new stores were opened in ROI. For the year there were 32 stores opened in the UK and ROI, of which three were corporate and 29 were franchised, by 23 different franchisees. There were 28 stores opened in the UK and four stores opened in ROI, and one planned closure in the UK. In total the store estate at the end of year was 1,184 (UK: 1,130, ROI: 54). The dispute with our franchisees is ongoing and normal working practices remain affected. The situation is complex and we expect resolution to take time. We remain committed to working with our franchisees to agree sustainable win-win solutions.”

Mowgli to make Scottish debut after securing Edinburgh site: Indian street food concept Mowgli, which is backed by Foresight Group, has further strengthened its 2020 openings pipeline by securing a site in Edinburgh. The Nisha Katona-led company will open in the Scottish capital after securing a site in Hanover Street. The site is scheduled to open near the end of this year. The ten-strong group has openings lined up in Bristol and Leeds over the next few months. Glasgow, Bath, Brighton, Coventry, Newcastle and Preston are also on the radar for the brand. Last year, the company reported revenues in the past three years had grown more than 66% on average every year to hit £12m in the 12 months to the end of July.

Chipotle reports 13.4% like-for-like sales growth in its Fourth Quarter: Chipotle has reported revenue increased 17.6% to $1.4 billion in its Fourth Quarter to 31 December 2019. Like-for-like restaurant sales increased 13.4% with no net impact from loyalty deferral, and included 8.0% like-for-like restaurant transactions growth. Digital sales grew 78.3% and accounted for 19.6% of sales. Restaurant level operating margin was 19.2%, an increase of 220 bps. The company opened 80 new restaurants including one relocation, and closed three. In its full year, revenue increased 14.8% to $5.6 billion. Like-for-like restaurant sales increased 11.1%, net of 20 bps from loyalty deferral, and included 7.0% comparable restaurant transactions growth. Digital sales grew 90.3% and accounted for 18.0% of sales. “We had a strong ending to 2019 as Q4 marks the eighth-consecutive quarter of accelerating comparable sales, which highlights that running great restaurants with the right leaders and the right culture is delivering outstanding financial performance,” said Brian Niccol, chief executive. “For the full year, Chipotle’s average unit volumes exceeded $2.2 million and digital sales surpassed a billion dollars, showing that our key strategies are working, and the Chipotle brand is thriving as we build a sustainable model that helps cultivate a better world.”

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