Franco Manca owner hails Eat Out to Help Out sales surge

The owner of Franco Manca said it had one of its strongest ever trading weeks last week due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, despite some of its restaurants remaining shut.

Fulham Shore, which also runs the Real Greek chain, said sales were “markedly up” for the first two weeks of August against the same period last year.

Shares in the company jumped higher after it reported the boost from the Government’s discounting scheme, which has offered diners half-price meals and soft drinks from Monday to Wednesday this month.

The restaurant group said it now has 50 of its 51 Franco Manca sites reopened, while 16 of its 18 Real Greek sites are also now open.

It said its remaining restaurants are all based in the City and West End of London and will reopen “when office tenants and theatregoers return”.

A new Franco Manca site is also on track to open its doors at The Cut, near to Waterloo Station in London, in mid-September, it added.

After closing its sites in March due to the lockdown, the group started conversations with its landlords in a bid to reduce its lease payments.

It said it has now agreed to waive, defer or reduce rental payments with more than 40% of its landlords to cut its operating costs.

The company said it is still in discussions over similar deals with its other landlords.

It confirmed its trading performance as the company completed a £2.25 million fundraiser to shore up its finances.

Fulham Shore also said that its bank facilities, of £25.75 million, have become unconditional as a result of its directors participating in the fundraising.

Shares in the business increased by 19% to 10.14p in early trading on Thursday.