Franco Manca owner sees customers flocking back after lockdown

The owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants has seen a strong increase in sales since coronavirus restrictions on dining were lifted.

Bosses at Fulham Shore said 71 out of 73 sites have been reopened and that, on a like-for-like basis, sales in the first week of indoor dining being allowed again were at 92% of levels in the same period in 2019.

The company has also opened a new Franco Manca pizza restaurant in High Holborn in central London and will open another in Glasgow next week.

As a result of the swift return of customers in strong numbers, Fulham Shore is also eyeing up expansion plans, having previously said it expects opportunities to open up with rivals going bust during the pandemic.

The company said: “Our property team is travelling around the UK looking for new properties and we have a number of sites that are currently in legal negotiations.”

Sites in London’s Covent Garden remain closed as the area is devoid of tourists, but aim to reopen at the beginning of June, it added.

Fulham Shore, along with rivals, suffered badly during the pandemic as it was forced to shut stores for long periods.

At its last set of results for the six months to September 27, sales fell 44.9% to £19.9 million with a pre-tax loss of £4.3 million.