To order to boost the group’s balance sheet and provide extra working capital, Fulham Shore, which owns Franco Manca and the Real Greek restaurant brands, has proposed a £2.25m fundraise.
The group has also entered into a new debt facility of £10.75 m and has accepted revised terms on its current £ 15 m credit arrangement. In a trading update, the group said the majority of its Franco Manca (49 out of 51) and Real Greek restaurants (14 out of 18) have reopened, and while social distance means sites are running at 60 per cent -70 per cent of their previous capacity, this has been compensated to some degree by a rise in delivery and takeaway sales. Approximately 9 per cent of the company’s restaurants will not reopen to dine-in customers until office staff and theatregoers return to London’s City and West End, and the ongoing closure of these sites is anticipated to adversely affect the financial output of the business. But business is “promising” for those who have reopened, and in the four weeks since July 6, like-for-like restaurant sales at reopened sites were around 72 per cent of the same period the previous year.
The group has shared with its consumers about half the profit of the six-month cut in VAT on food, and both of its brands are taking part in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out campaign, all of which are expected to have a positive effect on the company ‘s trading. The directors said they believe the company is “firmly in the ‘survive and prosper’ community” and they expect to return to more normal operating conditions within the next 12 to 18 months, after which Fulham Shore will resume its growth program and take advantage of depressed lease acquisition rates and rents.