Hostmore, which owns Fridays, has confirmed that its earnings and new site pipeline are on track despite weaker trading over the festive period.
The hospitality firm’s board expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the year to January 2 to be “well ahead” of £18.6m.
London-listed Hostmore, which also owns cocktail bar 63rd+1st, had its December revenue shrink more than eight per cent in comparison with 2019, after the Omicron wave pushed a jump in cancellations across its nearly 90-strong restaurant empire.
However, “this was more than offset by a combination of new reservations and walk-in demand, which reflected the short-term nature of customer decision making while the uncertainty prevailed,” Hostmore said in its latest trading update.
Cooler trading has continued into the New Year, the restaurant chain owner added, though it is usually a quieter period after Christmas.
CEO Robert Cook said: “Despite the ongoing uncertainty regarding Covid and how it may affect our lives, as well as the well documented inflationary environment, I am positive about the future of the business.
“The replenishment of our balance sheet and the goodwill of our landlord community has enabled the contracting of the latest addition to our estate.”
Hostmore is set to open two further 63rd+1st sites in Cambridge and Edinburgh, and two Fridays’ stores in Chelmsford and Barnsley sometime this year – “with more in the pipeline”, its CEO added.