The boss of Nando’s has said the chicken restaurant chain suffered “the most challenging year” in its history as losses ballooned following enforced pandemic closures.
Accounts for the latest financial year to February 2021 show the company tumbled to a £241.8 million pre-tax loss, following a £99.4 million loss the previous year.
Nando’s Group – which operates the group’s UK and international operations – saw revenues plunge over the year after restaurants were temporarily forced to shut their doors.
Revenues slid by 39.3% to £665 million for the latest year, after all its markets were impacted by restrictions.
Rob Papps, group chief executive officer, however praised this as a strong performance against the “difficult backdrop” caused by Covid-19 and said the business is “well-placed” to rebound.
“The 2021 financial year was the most challenging in Nando’s history as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Against this difficult backdrop, I am incredibly proud of the way Nando’s has responded; with a clear focus on our people and supporting our communities.
“I am particularly pleased that we succeeded in avoiding any redundancies at our UK restaurants and avoiding any permanent closures.
“Looking ahead, the Nando’s brand remains very well placed, underpinned by our delicious peri-peri chicken, continued menu innovation, our focus on social impact and our investment in delivery, loyalty and customer technology which is making it easier for more people to eat Nando’s.”
The group also revealed that it reduced its capital investment by almost half – dropping to £54.2 million from £97.4 million a year earlier – as it sought to conserve cash.
Nando’s Group also secured £100 million in equity from its South African parent business during the year, and agreed some salary reduction for senior staff and rent reductions.
Current trading has “improved significantly” globally, the company said, but it remains mixed with variations across regions.
Nando’s was among UK restaurant chains to close a number of restaurants during the summer after production staff shortages impacted its supply of chicken.
However, the firm said it remains confident in its future growth outlook and has seen “continued strong demand” for its peri-peri chicken.
The company also highlighted increased investment in communities over the past year, with over 55,000 meals donated to NHS workers over the year.
It also stressed that it has accelerated its sustainability targets over the year and signed the Better Chicken Commitment to improve welfare in its supply chain.