JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African restaurant group Famous Brands, owner of chains such as Steers and Wimpy, expects revenue to pick up in June to 35% of normal monthly levels as the country eases lockdown restrictions further, its CEO said on Tuesday.
The nation’s hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by restrictions imposed on March 27 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the closure of all restaurants.
Famous Brands resumed food delivery services this month under a partial easing of restrictions. However, with only 40% of its South African restaurants able to offer delivery-only services, group revenue for May is likely to be 20% of normal levels, said Chief Executive Darren Hele.
Next month, in a further relaxation of lockdown measures, restaurants will be allowed to offer drive-through and takeaway services. That will allow Famous Brands to operate 70% of its restaurants, Hele said.
“Certainly a big improvement ... but definitely not the bee’s knees, as they say, in terms of being able to get back to the kind of levels we anticipated,” Hele said at the group’s annual earnings presentation.
“We’re very comfortable that generating 35% of revenue (next month) we’re starting to get back into the game.”
Like many other companies Famous Brands said it was scrapping its interim dividend to conserve cash.
At market close, shares in the company were up almost 3% to a two-week high, helped by the company’s outlook after it reported an 8% rise in operating profit for the year to Feb. 29.
($1 = 17.4028 rand)
Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman