Festive cheer: Christmas 2014 a profitable one for restaurant and bar groups

By Patrick McGuigan

- Last updated on GMT

Manchester House, Living Ventures' restaurant overseen by Aiden Byrne had an exceptionally good Christmas with like-for-like sales up 34 per cent over the festive period
Manchester House, Living Ventures' restaurant overseen by Aiden Byrne had an exceptionally good Christmas with like-for-like sales up 34 per cent over the festive period

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Restaurants and bars performed well over Christmas and New Year, according to analysts, with some of the country’s major groups reporting bumper sales.

Restaurants and bars performed well over Christmas and New Year, according to analysts, with some of the country’s major groups reporting bumper sales.

Research company Horizons told BigHospitality that initial feedback on the festive period from chain and independent restaurants around the country had been positive with most reporting a jump in sales in December compared to 2013.

“The way Christmas and New Year fell this year really helped operators with businesses doing good trade on the weekend between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day,” said a spokesperson.

The feedback was backed up by record results for some of the industry’s big names. Manchester House, the high end restaurant overseen by head chef Aiden Byrne, which is part of the Living Ventures group, saw like-for-like sales increase 34 per cent in the five weeks to 3 January 2015.  Across the group, which comprises seven brands at 32 sites, sales increased by 8 per cent.

Right offer

Tim Bacon, Living Ventures’ chief executive, said: "This is a stellar performance in each and every brand, be it casual dining or fine dining, and geographically across the whole estate. The right offer in the right locations, great people and improved consumer confidence have combined to deliver strong growth and great Christmas and New Year trading.” He also confirmed the plans to open 13 new restaurants in 2015.

London City wine bar and restaurant group Kornicis Group, which operates Jamie's Wine Bars and Smollensky’s, achieved a 7 per cent increase in like-for-like sales across its 18 sites in the five-week period leading up to Christmas.

Chief executive, Nick Tamblyn, said: “As Christmas Day fell later in the week a much stronger performance was seen in Christmas week itself. This trend is expected to continue for the next couple of years."

Latin American restaurant and bar chain Las Iguanas, which has 38 sites and new openings planned for Swansea, Woking and Torquay, saw like-for-like sales increase 7.8 per cent over the Christmas fortnight, while New Year’s Eve saw a 12.8 per cent increase on last year. Overall sales for the four-week period to 3 January were up 2.9 per cent year-on-year.

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