Pho, the Vietnamese restaurant group, is confident it can return to its expansion strategy once restrictions are lifted and the business has stabilised.

The 29-strong business, which also has two dark kitchens with Deliveroo Editions, will look to take advantage of further opportunities in both physical and virtual restaurants in the coming years, the company said.

The Gresham House Ventures-backed business said it was less exposed to tightening consumer spending, which was already having an impact on the wider casual dining market pre-pandemic, due to its differentiated product and attractive price point.

In a trading update filed at Companies House, Pho said its investment in its brand, food and service standards, gave it a competitive advantage, and the ability to grow its market share and customer base.

During the year to February 2020, Pho’s revenue was up 13.2% to £38.9m, with an operating profit of £354,000.

EDITDA was up 59.8% to £3.2m, but it made a total loss of £290,000, with exceptional items of £492,000, including a management fee to parent company Pho Holdings, and an impairment charge in respect of the fixed assets of a site in Manchester.

The company expects a 45% reduction in total turnover for the year to February 2021.

Pho began trading delivery and takeaway from May 2020, after seven weeks of full closure to ensure staff welfare and make the venues Covid-safe.

Despite a significant increase in delivery and takeaway sales during restrictions, the company’ said its overall revenue and profitability was “severely impacted”.

Pho said it sought out alternate supply chains in anticipation of issues with imported goods at UK ports following Brexit.

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