In its half year financial report released yesterday, the private equity company - which owns 99% of the TGIs business since its initial investment in 2014 – said that the large size of its venues - with an average footprint of 6,860sq ft - made reopening with social distancing a viable option.
“Whilst peak capacity will be constrained in the short term by social distancing requirements, through implementation of existing plans to spread demand beyond the approximately 15% of the week when demand is close to capacity, we are confident in a successful resumption,” it says.
Prior to lockdown, the brand’s EBITDA increased to £27.7 million for the year ended 31 December 2019, up from £25.3m in 2018, with like-for-like sales up 3%.
“TGI has continued to outperform its peers through a combination of sustainable growth and focus on meeting customers’ differentiated and experiential wishes,” says Electra in the update.
“TGI is a profitable and highly cash generative business that we have maintained with modest leverage given its challenging markets. As such, having entered the close-down period with £36 million cash we are confident that TGI will emerge strongly and successfully navigate the evolving constraints and opportunities presented by macro Covid-19 exit strategies.”
The company says that from next week (27 May) it will be opening a further 12 UK restaurants for its Click & Collect service following what it describes as ‘a hugely successful launch at select restaurants’. The additional venues include Bolton, Braintree, Fareham, Coventry, Glasgow – Buchanan Street, and Manchester Piccadilly, taking the total number of sites operational to 36.
“Since launch, we have had endless requests from Fridays fans across the country to bring the offer to them - something that we’ve been working very hard to safely deliver,” says Robert B Cook, TGI Fridays CEO.
“The 12 restaurants that we are adding have been chosen as we either own and can control the car park or our landlord has given us dedicated access to the site. We are continuing to follow all Government guidelines to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to, with the safety of our guests and our teams remaining our top priority.”
As a result of the Coronavirus disruption, TGI has altered its closure and acquisition plans, accelerating two end of lease closures planned for the end of 2020, and rescheduling two new store openings planned for H2 2020 into H1 2021.
The company says it will “continue to actively pursue a sustainable store roll-out plan”.