Franco Manca owner eyes 150 potential new restaurant sites

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Franco Manca owner Fulham Shore has identified 150 sites for potential new restaurants as the toll of the pandemic on the industry property market provides new expansion opportunities.

Shares in the London-listed group, which also owns the Real Greek chain, ticked higher after it also confirmed its latest trading performance.

The firm said all of its 74 restaurant locations – which include 55 Franco Manca and 19 Real Greek sites – are now open following pandemic closures.

David Page, executive chairman of the group, said: “Since the beginning of the current financial year commencing March 29, the group has continued to trade profitably and ahead of management expectations, driven by strong performances across our suburban restaurants.

“From July 2021 all restaurants have been open and operating without restrictions, welcoming increasing numbers of customers as the UK’s vaccination programme progresses.

“Momentum has also been maintained across our takeaway and delivery channels, which continue to outperform 2019 levels.”

The group said it has opened two new Franco Manca sites since April while a new Real Greek outlet is under construction in Norwich.

Mr Page added that the group will seek to accelerate its expansion plans as trading conditions continue to stabilise.

“In line with our long-term expansion strategy we have developed a strong pipeline of new locations, supported by favourable rental terms and the group’s strong cash position,” he said.

“We plan to open 10 locations during the current financial year and have identified more than 150 additional sites in line with our medium-term plans.”

The update came as the company confirmed revenues decreased by 41.3% to £40.3 million in the year to March 28 following the impact of enforced closures for large parts of the year.

It also dropped to an operating loss of £4.8 million for the year, compared with a £1.8 million profit from the previous year.

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