Tasty plc, the owner of the Wildwood and Dim T brands, has posted preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 31 December 2017, showing revenue was up 9.7% to £50.3m (2016: £45.8m), but suffering pre-tax losses of £9.5m.
The company disposed of three underperforming restaurants and opened six new Wildwood restaurants during the period. Post year end, Tasty sold a further three sites. There are a number of sites earmarked for closure.
The group does not intend to open any new restaurants in 2018, with management focused on restructuring the existing restaurant portfolio.
Tasty said that the market conditions have been increasingly challenging through 2017 and the Board's expectation is that there will be no improvement in this regard in 2018.
Tasty currently operates 61 restaurants, comprising of 6 Dim T and 54 Wildwood restaurants and one other.
Chairman Keith Lassman stated, 'We identified a number of weaknesses in our operational structure and have begun to implement an eighteen month plan to address these issues. In addition to this, we made the decision to dispose of a number of underperforming sites and suspend expansion whilst we make these operational improvements.
'The Group is focussed on the planned operational improvements and we are now seeing better customer engagement and staff retention. During the period we launched our apprenticeship scheme to support and enhance our improved staff training scheme which will be expanded throughout 2018.
'The Board does not expect market conditions to improve in 2018 and believes that a further deterioration is likely. Underlying input costs will continue to rise and consumer spending will face increased pressures.'
Lassman continued, 'The Group's next round of operational improvements are targeting improvements in the areas of sales, food and labour margins, however it will be some time before the full benefit of these changes is felt and financial performance in 2018 is very unlikely to see any improvement on 2017.
'Despite the fall in financial performance experienced in 2017, the Group remains cash generative. Financial highlights are included in the business review.
'Finally, I am pleased to announce that the Group has recruited a replacement for our outgoing Finance Director to lead the finance function as well as offer support to the Group's other administrative functions. Reporting into the Board, this role will be key in supporting the implementation of the business strategy.'