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Sales at Boojum restaurants in the Republic rise 21%

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Pre-tax profits at the group that operates the expanding Mexican-themed casual dining chain, Boojum, last year declined by 20% to £1.33m (€1.55m).

New accounts filed with the Companies Office show that revenues at Modern Restaurant Concepts Ltd increased by 12% from £24.06m to a record £26.98m (€31.53m) in the 12 months to the end of April 23 last year.

The increase in revenues came ahead of the owner of casual dining chain Zizzi, Azzurri Group, purchasing a controlling stake in Boojum from private equity company Renatus Capital Partners last June.

Sounding an upbeat note on the group’s future, the directors state that “the business continues to grow, opening a fifteenth store in October 2023”.

They say that further units “are already in development with management confident that significant potential exists in all domestic markets, employing energy, agility and experience to leverage resources and build on recent momentum”.

In the year under review, the chain operated out of 14 sites in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and the directors state that annual turnover “reached a new record level and represents growth of 27% over the last three years”.

The chief factor behind the drop in profit was £430,212 (€502,877) in exceptional costs that included “legal and professional fees pertaining to strategic projects that were ongoing at the balance sheet date”.

On revenues for last year, the directors state that “like-for-like gains in the Republic of Ireland were boosted by a first full year of trade in Blanchardstown, which had opened in December 2021”.

The directors report that weekly revenues per store averaged £37,067 (€43,327) which was an increase on 2022 average weekly revenues of £34,285 (€40,075).

Sales in the Republic increased by 21% from £15.3m (€17.88m) to £18.49m (€21.61m) while sales in Northern Ireland decreased slightly from £8.76m to £8.49m.

The directors say that gross margins of 68.9% compared to 72.1% for 2022 “reflect sustained pressure on food costs from multiple entrenched inflation factors”.

They state that the whole hospitality sector “has been exposed to global headwinds. Whilst striving to contain the impact of higher pricing, the business is not immune to such turbulence and consequently has been required to absorb a substantial share of the premiums imposed on certain key commodities”.

They say that “despite further inflationary effects, particularly relating to utilities, the ratio of operating expenses to sales held flat as labour efficiencies tracked in line with higher transaction volumes”.

The directors say that an underlying Earnings Before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of £3.2m (€3.74m) and an EBITDA return of 12% compared to 15.3% for 2022 “demonstrates that the group continues to achieve industry-leading performance metrics and is regarded as a strong result in the context of a more challenging trading environment”.

Numbers employed last year increased from 376 to 439 and staff costs rose from £7.35m (€8.59m) to £8.24m (€9.63m). Directors’ pay last year totalled £273,557 (€17.88m) that included the highest paid director receiving £208,961 (€17.88m).

The profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of £489,071 (€571,678) and non-cash amortisation costs of £491,304 (€574,288).

The group recorded a post tax profit of £682,469 (€797,742) following a corporation tax charge of £652,164 (€762,319). Lease charges totalled £1.02m (€1.19m).

The group’s ‘other operating income’ last year totalled £96,052 (€112,275) compared to £354,886 (€414,828) in the prior year. The group received zero income under employment subsidies last year compared to £214,245 (€250,432) in the prior year.

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