Revenues soar to £146m at South West restaurant chain

Revenues at Bristol restaurant chain Loungers increased by more than 22 per cent to £146.6m over the last six months.

The firm, which includes the Cosy Club and Brightside brands, saw profit before tax increase to £3.9m during the first half of the year.

The company said it saw consistently strong trading driven by both mature estate and its new sites.

Loungers has continued to improve its offer, including further food menu innovation and the introduction of a new blended drinks and iced coffees range.

The firm added that margins benefitting from an easing of inflationary pressures and they are on track to return to pre Covid levels.

The roll out of new sites roll has accelerated with 16 sites opened in the period – there were 14 Lounges and two Brightsides.

The business has continued to trade well over the first eight weeks of the third quarter, with like for like sales growth across the 32 weeks to 26 November of 7.6 per cent.

A further six sites have opened post the October half year end – five Lounges and one Cosy Club

Chief executive Nick Collins said: “This has been another period of strong financial and operational growth for Loungers. The fact that we have delivered increases of 22.3 per cent and 23.6 per cent in our revenue and EBITDA respectively should be taken as yet another reminder that it is not all doom and gloom in the UK hospitality sector.

“We are living proof that businesses which can provide outstanding hospitality, great food and drink and excellent value are still capable of thriving, and we see more growth potential for Loungers than ever before.

“Our accelerated site roll-out programme continues at pace, and we are on track to open 34 in FY24, which means that we will end the year with more than 250 sites.

“The opening of every new Lounge means an investment of nearly £1m into the local high street, and the increased footfall creates a positive knock-on effect on all of the businesses around us.

“By the end of 2023, we will have added another 1,000 people to our team during the year, and we are particularly pleased that one in eight of those new jobs is in areas that the government wants to ‘level up’ by creating better opportunities and standards of living.”

Gregor Grant, chief financial officer, has announced he is to step down.

The board has commenced a search to identify his successor and expects to make an appointment well in advance of Gregor leaving the group.

Alex Reilley, Co-Founder, Lounge and Cosy Club group

Alex Reilley, executive chairman and co-founder of Loungers, said: “Gregor has been an integral member of the Loungers leadership team since joining the business in 2018. During his time here Gregor has provided consistently strong financial leadership as the business has more than doubled in size, alongside delivering the IPO in 2019 and of course helping to guide the business through the challenges of the Covid period and the inflation that has followed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him, on behalf of the Board and colleagues across Loungers, for his commitment and enormous contribution over the last five years. He will leave with our best wishes for his future”.

Gregor Grant said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Loungers and am pleased to be leaving the business in such strong shape, as it continues to deliver a market-leading like for like sales performance whilst pursuing its ambitious site roll-out plans. Loungers is a truly unique business with a fantastic culture, a hugely professional team, and a clear strategy for future growth. It has been a privilege to play a small part in the extraordinary success that the business has enjoyed.”