Tasty restaurant group saw ‘significantly reduced’ customer numbers over the crucial festive period with swathes of bookings cancelled amid the rise Omicron
- Tasty suffered hefty plunge in customer numbers in December
- Group also concerned over end of Government support this year
Casual dining restaurant group Tasty has said the Omicron variant of Covid-19 led to ‘significantly reduced’ customer numbers in December.
Amid rising infection rates and advice to work from home where possible, many larger Christmas bookings ended up being cancelled, the group told investors on Tuesday
‘Trading for the peak December trading period was considerably weaker than anticipated’, it added.
Impact: Casual dining restaurant group Tasty has said the Omicron variant of Covid-19 led to ‘significantly reduced’ customer numbers last month
Tasty, which operated the Wildwood and Dim T restaurant chain, said that up until December, trading had been ‘extremely encouraging’.
The AIM-listed group said that its restaurants had been able to stay open, ‘with only isolated Covid-19 related disruptions to date’, adding that it was trading from 50 restaurants out of a total estate of 54.
It added: ‘The four restaurants that have remained closed due to predicted poor trading conditions in their locality and labour shortages, should re-open later in the year however the Company will continue to consider the sale of 2 or 3 of those restaurants.’
Tasty said that, despite the employment shortages, supply chain issues, Covid-19 related restrictions and a poor Christmas trading period, the company had ‘adapted well and navigated its way through the difficulties faced’.
It said: ‘2022 will not be without its challenges as the Company prepares for the end of Government support, in terms of reduced VAT and business rates.
‘However, it is confident in its brands and optimistic about the trading potential of the Group, especially with the strong revenue stream provided by takeaway and delivery services.’
Shares in Tasty are currently up 0.1 per cent to 5.14p. A year ago, the share price was 3.15p.
Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out a £1billion fund to help businesses hit by the rise in Covid cases, including the hospitality and leisure sector.
Hospitality businesses like pubs and restaurants can apply for cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises.
The Government is also helping some firms with the cost of sick pay for Covid-related absences.