The Horizon-backed group has published results for the year to 28 June 2018 in which like-for-like sales declined by 1.8% with a fall in total revenue of 4.3%
The group, which has more than 100 cafes, has reported a loss after tax of £17.3m (2017: £18.9m loss) while delivering EBITDA of £3.2m.
However, it says in the current financial year it is on track to grow EBITDA by nearly 50% and close to break-even at post-tax net profit level.
EAT says the results highlight the difficult trading conditions on the high street in 2017/2018 and stresses that it has taken steps to optimise its portfolio of stores, focusing on strategically selected, high footfall locations on high streets and in transport hubs such as airports and train stations.
As part of this review, new stores have been opened in Madrid Airport, Gare du Nord, and Liverpool Street Station.
This international expansion will continue in 2019, with new openings planned in Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante and Bahrain Airports, and Marne la Vallée and Gare du Nantes stations in France.
It has also undertaken a review of its food offer under executive chef Arnaud Kaziewicz as executive chef. Under Kaziewicz’s direction EAT’s range of sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and salads have been improved and extended with the re-introduction of seasonal flavours, it says.
The company has also completed its successful trial of a new SmartEAT. store format with hot self-service capability to improve speed of service and delivery. The like for like performance of SmartEAT stores has consistently been 10% higher than other stores since they were upgraded, the company says.
“Against a difficult backdrop on the UK high street we have delivered a good performance that lays the groundwork for future growth,” says chief executive Andrew Walker.
“With our master chef Arnaud Kaziewicz in the kitchen the range on offer is better than ever.
“Our new SmartEAT. stores are dramatically improving speed of service and delivery, so we are looking forward to upgrading the rest of our stores to the new format.
“The improved store portfolio and capital structure together with upgraded stores and food offering are already delivering results, with eleven consecutive months of like for like growth.”