By Angela Green, Content Executive, H&C News: Various Eateries reports pandemic relief.
Various Eateries PLC, the owner, developer and operator of all day club, restaurant and hotel sites in the United Kingdom, has announced an update on trading for the half year ending 3 April 2022.
Apart from the duration of Covid-related ‘Plan B’ restrictions, which severely affected the normally busy Christmas period, trading over the first half was robust. Total Group revenue for the period was £17.8m, up 439% year-on-year (H1 FY21: £3.3m), driven by new site openings and reflecting fewer restricted periods of trading.
Since ‘Plan B’ restrictions were lifted in January 2022, overall trading steadily recovered and has been in line with management expectations, despite various macro uncertainties.
Meaningful comparisons for the Group are difficult to draw due to intermittent periods of Covid-related closures and the substantial expansion of the Group’s estate over the last three years. Outside of London, like-for-like revenue generated by Coppa Club sites versus the same nine-week period in 2019 was up 0.5%, however even this only reflects the performance of three venues, one of which enjoyed bumper trading on opening. The Group is now benefiting from nine regional Coppa Clubs, all of which performed robustly since re-opening.
While footfall in London remains in recovery, Tavolino and other venues in the capital delivered strong performances since re-opening. Early trading of the Group’s new pasta-only concept, ‘Noci’, which opened in March in Islington, was encouraging with excellent feedback from guests.
The Group’s balance sheet remains solid with cash at bank of £14.5m as at 3 April 2022.
The Group currently operates 15 venues with Coppa Club Putney and Noci opening in the period. Post-period, Coppa Club Haslemere began trading, offering guests the full clubhouse experience in a beautiful Grade II listed building. Its opening has generated palpable excitement in the area with promising levels of early bookings for both the restaurant and guestrooms.
Looking ahead, the Group is set to continue with its roll out of venues, while taking careful consideration of macro-economic and political developments. Coppa Club Bath is due to open in late summer, with another premium new venue close to exchange. Site availability remains very strong, and the Group is able to be extremely selective in choosing only the most prime opportunities. Several further sites are in advanced negotiation, with many others under consideration.
The Group is conscious that the industry-wide challenges currently faced, including labour shortages and increasing inflation, have heightened uncertainty. However, with a management team who have seen many periods of uncertainty before, the Group is confident in its ability to successfully navigate the challenges while continuing to pursue its exciting growth strategy. The Group’s restaurants and clubhouses continue to be in demand in their local communities, and opportunities for further expansion remain abundant.
The Group expects to announce its interim results in June 2022.
Yishay Malkov, Chief Executive Officer of Various Eateries, said: “Across what has been another volatile trading period, the Board and I are delighted to see that our sites remain highly appealing to consumers, have been embraced by local communities and are becoming important social hubs. “Trading performance has been positive, and we are pleased to see our new sites are delivering in line with our expectations.
“As pandemic-related restrictions dissipate, our team is now working hard to mitigate the impact of rising cost pressures, inflation, and elevated uncertainty. We are confident we have the right team and strategy to navigate the current environment, and in our ability to continue to deliver good levels of sustainable growth.”