Ed’s Easy Diner, the Andrew Guy-led chain, has announced ambitions to grow its estate to over 100 sites by September 2018, as it reported an 87% increase in sales to £17.6m for the year to 30 September 2013, on the back of new openings and like-for-like sales growth of 2.5%.
The company, which currently operates 24 sites under its core format, said group EBITDA doubled in the year from £1.01m to £2.24m, during a period in which it invested £7m in growing its estate.
The Rankvale Hospitality-backed business, which is believed to have received interest from private equity groups, is understood to have continued to perform over the last five months, a period in which it has opened a further seven restaurants. It hopes to open up to a further eight diners before the end of 2014.
The group also has six sites either where heads of terms have been issued or are “in legals” for the first half of 2015. In addition, there are sites where heads of terms have been agreed for 2016.
Diner openings planned for the next few months include Lord Street in Liverpool, Monk’s Cross in York and Victoria Place at Victoria Station.
Stephen Greene, chairman said: “We remain committed to continuing our rate of growth and building on our brand values and customer support, and have in place a five year strategic plan to create a truly national brand, as well as developing opportunities for significant growth overseas. Our pipeline of new locations continues to build, and we are confident in our ability to achieve our future strategic objectives.
“This has been another excellent performance both financially and operationally. We have substantially grown the business and laid the foundations for further rapid growth. We are well funded, have a strong pipeline and the systems to manage our next phase of development. We look forward to delivering another year of progress in 2014.”
During the year, Ed’s, which was acquired by Rankvale in 2009 when it had three sites, served almost 1.8 million customers at its diners, as well as an estimated 100,000 at its four Shake and Shakes ‘N’ Dogs Stands.
The company, which earlier this year secured a new £4.5m debt facility, was ranked 72nd on the list of the country’s top 100 fastest growing companies in latest The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100.
Earlier this month, it won the coveted Evolution Award and came top in this year’s Zolfo Cooper Profit Tracker, which tracks companies with the fastest-growing profits within the UK’s eating and drinking out sector, at the Retailers’ Retailer Awards.
At the end of September 2013 membership to the group’s Ed’s Club approached 250,000, nearly doubling the number of members during the financial year, and at the end of December 2013 amounted to 285,000.
Greene said: “The strategy for the group remains to operate and open new diners in high footfall premium shopping centres, transport interchanges such as railway stations and airports, and busy tourism centres. We offer great tasting food, fabulous milkshakes, iconic music, value for money prices and service with a smile where customers leave our diners happier than when they came in. As a consequence of this we anticipate the continued growth of a financially successful operation which will generate good returns for our investors and opportunities for our staff to develop and grow with the business.”