The launch of a meal kit delivery business helped Rick Stein's hospitality empire post a pre-tax profit of almost £1m in the first year of the pandemic.
The Seafood Restaurant (Padstow) Limited, which includes the Stein family's restaurants, hotels, retail outlets, cookery school and online shop, reported a profit of £999,000 with turnover of £14.9m in the year to 3 January 2021.
This was up from a pre-pandemic profit of £513,000 in 2019 with turnover of £17.5m.
The company set up a major e-commerce arm after its restaurants were forced to close in 2020, which now includes meal kits, an online fishmongers and giftware.
The Stein's at Home menu ranges from £35 for an afternoon tea or breakfast box to a £149 celebration box with Veuve Clicquot champagne and three course meal with lobster Thermidor.
The company said: "The group continues to seek opportunities to grow its e-commerce business and maximise profitability of the core business.
"In this context the 2021 financial year has seen the reopening of restaurants and demand for good food and ‘staycations' has so far seen a rebound in the hospitality industry.
"The hospitality industry continues, however, to face challenges with pressure on recruitment, price inflation and supply chain issues."
Stein's group permanently shut its restaurant in Porthleven, Cornwall in 2020 but its Marlborough site was saved from closure after the landlord agreed a rent reduction.
It is one of the largest private sector employers in Cornwall, though the average number of employees dropped from 386 in 2019 to 367 in 2020 and wage costs were cut from £7.1m to £6.2m.
The company said it had been challenging to recruit hospitality staff, "especially chefs", and some companies were holding back on making decisions "until the Brexit position is resolved".
On 15 April 2021 the group were awarded £969,000 in settlement of dispute, but as there was no expectation the funds would be received as at 3 January 2021 it was not recognised in the balance sheet.
It also made charitable donations of £5,000 during the year.