Wagamama owner enjoys sales boost

The Restaurant Group said sales rose as hungry customers returning in droves following the easing of lockdown restrictions last year.

16 March 2022

The owner of restaurant chain Wagamama said sales saw a strong return last year following the ending of lockdown restrictions.

However, The Restaurant Group (TRG) added it continued to trade at a loss of £32.9 million, although this was a vast improvement on the £132.9 million pre-tax loss in 2020.

Sales at the chain, which also owns Frankie & Benny’s and Brunning & Price venues, hit £636.6 million in 2021 compared to £459.8 million in 2020.

A Frankie & Benny's restaurant
TRG was forced to shut its restaurants during much of the pandemic (Mike Egerton/PA)

In the period between May last year and the beginning of January, like-for-like sales at Wagamama rose 15% compared to the same period in 2019 before the pandemic.

Its pubs business saw sales up 9% and its leisure division was up 14%.

This soared even higher in the first eight weeks of 2022, with Wagamama standing out – up 21%.

Chief executive Andy Hornby said it was a robust year “despite the various restrictions that have impacted the sector.”

The company said it remains confident for the year ahead, although it flagged that costs could increase should the Ukraine conflict lead to higher inflation.

Energy prices have risen significantly for businesses due to soaring gas and oil costs, but TRG said it has hedged the majority of its energy costs until 2025.

There has also been a strong shift to customers choosing vegan and vegetarian options, with orders of vegan meals now more than 20% of total orders, up from just 5% previously.

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