Wahaca in 'best shape possible' to recover post-pandemic

06 July 2021 by
Wahaca in 'best shape possible' to recover post-pandemic

Wahaca co-founder Mark Selby has said the group expects to make a swift recovery once its restaurants are able to fully reopen.

Writing in accounts for parent company Oaxaca, Selby said Wahaca had a "solid financial platform" to grow from after undergoing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last year.

The Mexican restaurant group was trading in line with expectations until the pandemic forced all its sites to close in March 2020.

The impact of prolonged restrictions meant it underwent a CVA in October, which saw the permanent closure of 12 restaurants. Lenders and shareholders wrote off £25m in debt and a further £5m was injected into the business.

Wahaca later secured long-term financing facilities of £15m which are fully drawn and repayable in September 2024.

Turnover for the year ended 28 June 2020 was £34.7m (2019: £50m), gross profit margin was 32.7% (2019: 43.6%) and adjusted operating loss was £1.3m (2019: profit of £3.2m). Net loss before tax was £17m, compared to a loss of £4.2m in 2019, and net liabilities were £29m.

During lockdown Wahaca developed a successful delivery channel, upgraded all its chicken and pork to be British and free range, and developed its menu so around 50% is suitable for vegetarians.

Selby said in a statement: "Developments such as these, combined with the action we have taken to strengthen our position, means that the business is in the best shape possible to help us recover swiftly and progress once restaurants are allowed to fully reopen."

Wahaca group was founded by Selby and MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers in 2007 and at one point grew to 27 locations nationwide. It now trades from 16 restaurants under the Wahaca and DF Tacos brands in London, Edinburgh, Brighton and Cardiff.

Image: Matthew Tallboys/Shutterstock

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