Comptoir Group has reported resilient performance, with revenue growth of 2.1% to reach £14.8m, but interrupted by “exceptional challenges” such as train strikes impacting a significant number of sites.

Reporting results for the six-months to 2 July 2023, the Lebanese-inspired group said strong top-line trading was offset by increased costs from food inflation, the national minimum wage and utility costs.

Like for Like sales growth was up 6.0% (Vat Adjusted). Total dine-in like-for-like sales (VAT adjusted) were up 8.1%.

But poor summer weather was also cited as a drag on the business, with gross profit flat at £11.5m (H1 2022: £11.5m), and adjusted EBITDA decreasing by 73.7% to £1m (H1 2022 restated: £3.8m).

Overall, Comptoir reported an IFRS loss after tax of £0.8m (H1 2022: £0.9m Profit).

The group currently owns and operates 20 restaurants, with a further six franchise restaurants.

Terms have been agreed for two new sites, including a London flagship restaurant, opening in early 2024.

The group announced its first new owned site in over four years in Ealing later this year, and is close to securing a new flagship Comptoir Libanais, with one more under negotiation.

The franchise business continues to grow with HMS Host, with the opening of the first franchised Shawa in Abu Dhabi. A new partner which will see Comptoir open in Milan airport in 2024.

During the period, one site closed (Comptoir Leeds), with no further closures expected this year.

Comptoir has introduced new menus across all its brands particularly in Comptoir Libanais, described as “the most expansive seen in several years”.

A new digital experience will be offered to guests in early 2024, the company’s first web revamp in eight years.

Chairman Beatrice Lafon said the group was navigating a challenging trading environment, with the macroeconomic pressures of the cost of living crisis, high inflation and the removal of government support with business rates and VAT resulting in a decrease in profit.

However with utilities costs set to significantly decline from Q4, and other inflationary costs like ingredients and labour now starting to plateau, the company expects an improved performance towards the end of this year.

“Trading continues to be impacted by significant events outside of our direct control such as the ongoing public transport industrial action which now enters a second year,” Lafon said. “We have also had a relatively poor summer in terms of terrace weather. Both of these issues have adversely impacted our sites, despite the welcome relief that a warm start to September and the completion of our terraces’ refurbishment has so far brought to footfall.”