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Wagamama owner The Restaurant Group to raise £175m after Covid impact

Henry Saker-Clark
·2-min read

Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group (TRG) is tapping investors for £175 million to shore up its finances after the business was struck hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The London-listed hospitality firm revealed that total sales dived by 57% to £459.8 million in 2020 after its sites were forced to close their doors for large periods.

The plunge in sales and pandemic costs caused it to plummet to a £127.6 million pre-tax loss for the year, compared to a £37.3 million loss in 2019.

Business Stock
The company closed a number of Frankie & Benny’s sites during its restructuring last year (Mike Egerton/PA)

It added that its short-term outlook remains “uncertain” while lockdown restrictions remain in place.

Its venues will be able to reopen outside-only from April 12, with customers expected to dine in from May 17 at the earliest as part of the Prime Minister road map out of lockdown.

TRG undertook a major restructuring during the pandemic, closing around 250 of its leisure and concessions sites – in a move which largely hit its Frankie &; Benny’s, Chiquito and Food & Fuel brands.

WATCH: Wagamamas prepares to welcome customers back inside restaurants

The company, which now has around 400 sites, said its planned capital raise will be the “last step” in its restructuring plan as it prepares to rebound once restrictions lift.

It also told investors it is in a “strong” position to deliver an accelerated reopening plan as measures ease and is “well-positioned” to benefit over the long term.

Andy Hornby, chief executive of TRG, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented enormous challenges for our sector but the TRG team has responded decisively to restructure our business whilst preserving the maximum number of long-term roles for our colleagues.

“TRG is operationally a much stronger business than 12 months ago.

“The capital raise announced today, alongside the debt refinancing announced last week, represents the last important step in our restructuring process and provides TRG with the long-term flexibility to invest in growing our business.

“Whilst the sector outlook remains uncertain, and we are mindful of continuing restrictions across the UK, we are confident that the actions announced today will allow us to emerge as one of the long-term winners.”

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