FOOD SERVICES | Staff Reporter, UK

Casual Dining Group's revenue rose 10% to £329m in 2017

It cited new site openings and sales growth from existing sites.

Casual Dining Group, the operator of mid-market restaurant brands including Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas, announces 17 international openings in 2018, driven by its successful franchising model. CDG also reports its annual results for the previous financial year, ended 28 May 2017, with its like for like growth of 2.2%, ahead of a flat market, adjusted EBITDA is down £4m, from £33.9m to £29.9m, statutory EBITDA of £17m, up 3.7% on the prior year, and cash from operations up 7% to £15.2m (2016: £14.3m).

Some of the company's highlights for 2017 are strong investment in the estate, including refurbishing 18 UK restaurants during the period, and a further 12 post-period, international franchising platform showing good momentum; with 83 agreements signed, principally in the Middle East, Ireland and South Africa, brand development and digital platforms continue to drive bookings and growth; with online pre-bookings seeing double digit growth, continued investment in menu development, food and drink quality, and innovation, and promotional discounting targeted and at a four-year low at group level.

For its outlook, Casual Dining Group said the trading is ahead of the UK market and its management expects EBITDA growth for rest of current year. It also looks for active schedule of new openings, focused on prime sites, airports and concessions in the UK and hotel JV’s, as well as seven new UK sites in the last 9 months, including Heathrow T5, Luton Airport, Centre Parcs and four Las Iguanas sites.

Steve Richards, CEO of Casual Dining Group, said, “Casual Dining Group’s brand diversity, and digital reach mean the Group has delivered a resilient performance in a year when costs driven by regulation and government action have been extreme and unprecedented. The Group continues its strategy of investing in its UK restaurants and expanding its footprint in predictable locations such as Airports, Center Parcs and JV’s in established hotel chains, as well as expanding internationally by way of franchise and JV.

Against a challenging backdrop, we have maintained progression while further reducing discounting, which at group level, is now at its lowest level in four years. At the same time, we have been very conservative with our retail price increases as we continue to offer best value to our customers. We have recently opened seven new UK sites in the past nine months, with 17 international openings planned over the current calendar year. From April 2018, the Group will go live in 200 stores across the three leading delivery platforms; Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat. This, coupled with bookings secured via our own industry leading websites, will help grow volumes in what promises to be a challenging market.

Current trading is ahead of the market, with positive low digit like for like sales. We are confident Casual Dining Group is well positioned to take advantage of current market conditions.”

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