Profitable Prezzo prepares for more openings, Chimichanga takes spotlight

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Summer of love

There were were 210 Prezzo restaurants across the UK at the end of 2012
There were were 210 Prezzo restaurants across the UK at the end of 2012
Following a strong set of sales results in 2012 for Italian restaurant chain Prezzo, chief executive Jonathan Kaye has reported a ‘good start’ to 2013 and is keen to expand the business along with the group’s Mexican concept, Chimichanga.

Year-on-year sales for the AIM-listed company were up 17 per cent and pre-tax profits rose by 7 per cent to £17.3m. Thirty-one new Prezzos and 13 Chimichangas were opened over the 52 weeks, and Kaye told BigHospitality that the property pipeline for 2013 is largely finalised.

“We’re looking at opening around 25 new restaurants by the end of this year,” he said. “It’s actually been a good start to the 2013; January and February were much better this time around.

“We’ve opened one restaurant so far but we’re on-site in eight - within two months that one will become nine. Crudely, these openings will be 60/40 in Prezzo’s favour, but we assess each opportunity on a site-by-site basis.

“Chimichanga will of course be playing second fiddle for a while, on account of the fact that there’s 28 branches compared to 210 Prezzos, but we’re certainly focusing on the Mexican offering much more to develop a really strong national brand.”

Notable new Prezzo openings in 2012 included the new Kings Cross station concourse and the first Northern Ireland location at Victory Square, while Chimichanga’s footprint extended from London to the likes of Halifax and New Brighton. Late last year, Kaye told BigHospitality that an increasing percentage of its future openings would indeed fall under the Chimichanga brand.

No excuses

Mexican restaurant chain Chimichanga has become more of a central focus for the company's expansion plans

Revenues for the year were up to £144.5m, compared with £123.9m in 2011. Restaurant profit increased by 12 per cent to £20.9m, and adjusted EBITDA rose by 16 per cent to £25.5m.

Despite the summer of 2012 being dominated by the Olympics,​Kaye admitted to BigHospitality that the event only had a ‘neutral’ effect on sales.

“The Olympics helped some London branches, it hurt others, but I hate when people make excuses for those sort of events,” said Kaye.

“We don’t complain when we have Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day so neither would I complain if something like the Olympics worked against me.”

Prosperity & progress

Giving an outlook for the year ahead, today’s Prezzo statement reads: “This is the fifth consecutive year that we have entered without clear conviction that the UK economy can deliver sustained growth on any meaningful scale over the next 12 months.

“However, Prezzo has self-evidently prospered during this period of uncertainty and we will continue to drive the business forward, striving for excellence in all that we do.

“With a strong development pipeline in place and the prospect of more settled trading patterns over summer 2013, the board is confident of further progress in the year ahead.”

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1 comment

Chimichanga, Southside, Wandsworth Town?

Posted by Ben Virgo,

Will you be opening a Chimichanga in Southside Shopping centre in Wandsworth Town in 2013?

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