Fulham Shore, operator of Franco Manca and the Real Greek restaurants, has said "the next few months may be the most exciting in the group's short history" as it prepared to capitalise on post-pandemic property opportunities.
In a trading update, Fulham Shore confirmed it has reopened 70 of its 72 Franco Manca and the Real Greek restaurants for various combinations of alfresco dining, delivery and collection services.
The group said sales in the week ended Sunday 18 April were "very encouraging, being not only ahead of the previous week, but also ahead of the same week two years ago in April 2019".
It is continuing to look for new locations in towns and cities across the UK including London, York, Durham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester.
It said many of the restaurant locations it had seen were available due to insolvency events and, as a result, were typically pre-existing fitted units and therefore had a lower opening cost compared to shell units. Fulham Shore said it expects a reduction in the group's average capital expenditure per new site in the short term, which should improve its return on capital.
The business is also in the process of building two new Franco Manca pizzerias on High Holborn in London and on Mitchell Street in Glasgow, with opening dates scheduled for June 2021.