The Comptoir Group made losses of £421,096 in the half year to 30 June 2018 – down 20.7% on the previous half year.

The Comptoir Libanais operator posted revenue of £15.7m – up 19.8% - gross profit of £11.3m – up 19% - and adjusted EBITDA of £482,244 – up 152% on the previous half year.

The listed group is in advanced negotiations with two new locations for Comptoir and one for Shawa for 2019, with a focus to remain on investing in and improving the current estate.

Chief executive Chaker Hanna blamed challenges in casual dining on chains with a “generic homogenous offering and no real ’differential’”, and said Comptoir has refrained from promotional activity.

The group opened one additional site during the period new in March 2018, in Birmingham, with a pop-up Yalla Yalla restaurant in Greenwich was closed in February 2018 having come to the end of its short lease.

The company currently owns 26 restaurants - 19 Comptoir Libanais, two Yalla Yalla, three Shawa, one Levant and one Kenza.

Three franchise restaurants are located in Heathrow, Gatwick & Utrecht.

There will be two additions to the estate in the second half of the year, with the opening of a new Comptoir restaurant by London Bridge railway station, expected to be trading from late October 2018.

The second opening will be another franchise operation with HMS Host in Cheshire Oaks in November 2018.

The group has agreed terms on two additional franchised sites with HMS Host in 2019 - Dubai Airport, due to open in March 2019, followed by Ashford in Kent in June 2019.

Hanna said: “A number of well-known national restaurant chains, with a fairly generic homogenous offering and no real ‘differential’ in their proposition to customers, have fallen recent victim to the challenging marketplace.

“We have observed a significant increase in the level of promotional activity within the restaurant sector, however, we have refrained from discounting and instead have focussed all of our efforts on further improving the customer offering. Most recently through our enhanced new menu implemented in May this year, which introduced, amongst many other new items, our increasingly popular ‘Feast menu’; with a minimum of two diners at a competitive price point offering a truly well rounded exposure to the whole Lebanese dining experience.”

 

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