Wasabi has rejected claims it is fighting for survival after a national newspaper suggested that reported losses made the business unsustainable.
The Japanese food-to-go group reported significant losses for the year to December 2018, which were reported in the Daily Mail as evidence of the business's struggles.
But Wasabi told The Caterer that since the results it had received a significant investment from Capdesia Group, which has reduced debt and allowed it to develop "exciting growth plans".
In a statement Wasabi added: "Since their investment, Wasabi has traded strongly delivering eight months of positive like-for-likes sales growth and bringing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation back to historical healthy levels. We opened one new site in Victoria that was trading ahead of expectations, refurbished six existing sites and currently have two new sites under construction at London Bridge and Camden."
When coronavirus hit the country, the company was delivering like-for-like growth in excess of 5%, it said.
Like most other operators, the group has temporarily closed all sites. However, its food manufacturing facility continues to produce meals for sale in Sainsbury's, which Wasabi said were trading "above expectation in the current environment".
The group has also donated 10,000 meals to the NHS and continues to offer 500 free meals per day. It has teamed up with Leon, Tortilla, Paul, Dishoom, Franco Manca and Hop to support the #FEEDNHS campaign to supply hospitals with daily meals.
Wasabi added: "The 'food-to-go' nature of our business model, our distinctive high-quality food and value-for-money offer, coupled with our key locations, within and outside London, put us in a strong position to serve our loyal customers and get back into growing the business as things return to some sort of normality."