Spur Corporation overcame mounting pressure on consumer spending to deliver a resilient trading performance in the year to June 2023 as franchised restaurant turnover grew 23.0% to R9.5 billion and revenue increased by 27.4% to pass the R3.0 billion mark. Headline earnings increased by 75.9% to R213 million.
The group increased sales in retail company stores by 37.7% while sales from the manufacturing and distribution division were 23.5% higher.
Diluted headline earnings per share grew by 81.0% to 260 cents and the final dividend was increased by 41.0% to 110 cents per share. The group remained in an ungeared position at year end, with unrestricted cash on hand of R375 million.
Spur Corporation chairman, Mike Bosman, said the strong growth can be attributed to the group’s clearly defined strategy and focused business model adopted in 2021 which is now delivering profitable results under the exceptional leadership of CEO Val Nichas and her highly experienced executive team.
After increasing restaurant sales by 31.5% in the first half, the group encountered growing macroeconomic headwinds and grew sales by 15.1% in the second half. Food inflation peaked at 14.4% in March 2023 before moderating to 7.8% at year end.
Volume growth in South Africa was mainly driven by the iconic Spur brand which increased restaurant sales by 24.9%. Panarottis grew sales by 18.6%, RocoMamas by 9.6% and John Dory’s by 8.7%. The speciality brands of The Hussar Grill, Casa Bella and Nikos increased sales by 42.2%, benefiting from an increase in both local and international tourism. The group’s customer count grew by 13% year-on-year.
Group CEO Val Nichas said the group topped the R1 billion mark in breakfast sales for the first time this year.
Spur accounted for 69% of the group’s South African sales followed by RocoMamas and Panarottis which each represent 10%. The international restaurants account for 10% of group sales.
Load shedding also drove customers ongoing demand for convenience. Takeaway sales now represent 15% of total local restaurant sales. Collect orders comprise 52% of takeaways, with the balance through Mr D and Uber Eats. Burgers and pizzas are the most popular eat-at-home choices, with takeaways making up 47% of sales in RocoMamas and 35% in Panarottis.
International franchised restaurant sales increased by 27.6% following improved trading conditions in the rest of Africa. Africa represents 71% of international sales and Mauritius 21%.
At year end the group operated 639 restaurants across South Africa and 13 countries in the rest of Africa, Mauritius and the Middle East. In South Africa, 22 restaurants were opened including nine Spur, five RocoMamas and three Panarottis restaurants. In the speciality portfolio, four new The Hussar Grill restaurants were opened, supporting the strategy of increasing market share in Gauteng.
Franchisees collectively invested R98 million in the revamp and relocation of 72 restaurants to ensure the brands and restaurants remain modern and appealing to customers.
The group’s international growth strategy continued to gain momentum. Ten new restaurants opened internationally, including two RocoMamas in Ghana and one in India, Saudi Arabia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe. Two Panarottis opened in Zambia and one in Nigeria.
Last month the group announced the acquisition of a 60% stake in the Doppio Group with 37 restaurants across the Doppio Zero, Piza e Vino and Modern Tailors brands as well as Doppio’s bakery and central supply business. Most of these restaurants are in Gauteng and the group has the know-how and franchising expertise to expand the Doppio brands nationally.
“We are confident the acquisition will strengthen our position in the day-time speciality dining segment and accelerate the group’s entry into the speciality coffee market. We expect the transaction to be finalised by mid-October 2023,” said Nichas.
She said this month’s taxi strike in the Western Cape disrupted trading for seven days, with a loss of franchised restaurant turnover of approximately R4.5 million across the 97 affected restaurants. “Many employees were unable to work, restaurants either traded with fewer staff or were forced to close, while the disruption resulted in reduced foot traffic in restaurants. Our franchisees commitment to ensuring the safety of the restaurant teams was paramount.”
Nichas said the group’s deliberate transformation journey continues to benefit employees and franchisees alike. Black franchisees now represent 29% of all local franchise partners, with the largest black multiple franchisee owning 14 restaurants. The group is also focused on building the pipeline of future talent and selected 18 unemployed young candidates to undergo a one-year operations management programme.
On the prospects for the 2024 financial year, Nichas said while trading conditions will remain challenging owing to pressure on consumer spending in the weak macroeconomic climate, the group remains positive on the outlook.
Management’s optimism is reflected in the group’s plans to open 41 new restaurants in South Africa and 12 internationally in the next year. This includes the aggressive expansion of the Panarottis brand where 15 new stores are planned.
Nichas said the primary focus will be on increasing the loyalty base across all brands, targeting the next tier of young families in South Africa, and introducing smaller format outlets for Spur, Panarottis and RocoMamas.
“This strategy will enable these brands to expand into smaller towns and shopping nodes which can generate an improved return on investment with a smaller restaurant footprint,” she added.