Famous Brands restricted by Covid-19 rules


Famous Brands restricted by Covid-19 rules

Published Date: 2020-03-24 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Famous Brands restricted by Covid-19 rules

The casual dining restaurant group is beefing up its home delivery capability but says trading will become increasingly difficult, impacting sales this year.

Famous Brands says there's been a big decline in visitors to its restaurants over the past few weeks due to government measures to restrict consumer activity in SA and the UK, aimed at slowing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The casual dining restaurant group says while its supply chain operations haven't experienced significant disruptions, there has been a notable slowdown in store sales activity.

In an update, Famous Brands said sales deteriorated steadily over the first three weeks of the month, with markets in which the virus had been prevalent for longer most affected, including England, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. More recently, there had been a concerning decline in SA sales, with some temporary restaurant closures, as well as in Mauritius and Kenya. The group said measures announced last week preventing the sale of alcohol after 6 pm and placing limits on the number of customers allowed in a restaurant would also impact its Signature-brand chains, including Tashas, Mythos, Turn 'n Tender and Lupa Osteria, amongst others. Due to an expected rise in online and takeaway orders, it said it was increasing its capacity to cope with home delivery.

In the UK, it closed its Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) and Wimpy restaurants to sit-down customers on Saturday in line with new restrictions but said it would try and keep some of them open to service the home delivery market if it was viable.

It said it would continue to enforce the necessary disciplines and protocols required to curb and slow the spread of the coronavirus, taking guidance from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the World Health Organisation and the UK's Department of Health to inform its approach. It said a support network was in place to hep its franchise partners.

The company's shares dropped 11% to R25 yesterday.

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