The owner of the Real Greek and Franco Manca restaurant chains has said business is picking up week by week, with trading up more than a quarter over pre-pandemic levels as tourists and office workers begin to return to city centres.
The Fulham Shore, which owns 75 restaurants, said revenues across its chains increased by 27% in the three weeks to 5 September compared with the same period in 2019.
The company, which last month said it planned to open as many as 150 new restaurants over the next few years, said this was a significant surge in business compared with the 8% revenue increase over pre-pandemic levels it had seen in the eight-week period to 15 August.
Business in London, where Fulham Shore operates 17 restaurants in the West End and city centre office locations, remains down on pre-coronavirus levels but continues “to see a week-by-week improvement in footfall and revenues as tourists and office workers have started to return”.
The increase in business also coincides with the end of the “pingdemic” on 16 August, when the government scrapped the self-isolation rules for those with double vaccinations.
“We are very encouraged by the accelerating revenue growth trends during recent weeks despite continued challenging trading conditions,” said the chairman and founder, David Page. “This reflects the popularity and relevance of both Franco Manca and The Real Greek, underpinned by their great food and fantastic value.”
Since the start of the company’s new financial year on 29 March, it has opened two new Franco Manca restaurants, taking the total to 55, and a 20th Real Greek.
Last month, Page, who set up Fulham Shore in 2011 and acquired Franco Manca four years later for £27.5m when it had only 10 outlets, has identified a further 125 locations to expand its flagship brand. He is also aiming to open 30 more Real Greek restaurants.
In its latest financial year, Fulham Shore suffered a 41% fall in revenue to £40.3m because of the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry.