Restaurant group Tasty has said December trading was “considerably weaker” amid the spread of Omicron and Government measures affecting on hospitality.
The London-listed business, which runs the Wildwood chain of restaurants, told investors that sales for the month – which is typically the strongest period for the company – were “disappointing”.
It highlighted that rising rates of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and “in particular the reinstatement of working from home advice by the UK Government” significantly dragged on customer numbers.
It said the guidance “specifically deterred the larger Christmas bookings” it had hoped to see following a period of positive momentum.
“As a consequence, trading for the peak December trading period was considerably weaker than anticipated,” it said in a statement.
“The company confirms that its restaurants have so far remained open with only isolated Covid-19 related disruptions to date and is currently trading from 50 restaurants out of a total estate of 54.”
The four restaurants which have remained closed due to predicted poor trading conditions in their areas and labour shortages are expected to reopen later in the year.
However, Tasty said it will continue to consider the sale of two or three of these restaurants.
It added: “Despite the employment shortages, supply chain issues, Covid-19 related restrictions and a weaker Christmas, the company has, nonetheless, adapted well and navigated its way through the difficulties faced.
“2022 will not be without its challenges as the company prepares for the end of government support, in terms of reduced VAT and business rates.”
Tasty reported that sales in the half-year to December had been “extremely encouraging”, before the impact of the spread of Omicron.