The performance of 'take-away' sales at the Irish arm of restaurant chain Nando's has beaten management's expectations this year during Covid-19.

That is according to new accounts for Nando’s Chickenland Ireland Ltd which show that operating profits at the company last year increased by 7% from €4.23 million to €4.54 million.

This followed revenues dipping marginally from €26.9 million to €26.68 million in the 12 months to the end of February this year.

On the impact of Covid-19 on the business, the directors state that while 'collect and delivery’ sales have beaten expectations, overall sales were some way below company sales in the period prior to Covid 19.

A note confirms that the company has availed of the Government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) and Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS). 

The company’s pre-tax profits declined by 30% to €2.7 million last year due to interest costs and foreign exchange losses totaling €1.76 million.

The accounts were signed off this month and in spite of the impact of Covid 19, the directors state that "the company is currently looking for potential sites to open more restaurants in the Republic of Ireland".

The directors say that the decrease in pre-tax profit last year "reflects our continued investment in our people and our restaurant business".

The directors state that they are satisfied with the company’s financial performance for the year to the end of February last.

The directors claim that the company's strategy is to continue to grow in terms of restaurant numbers, profitability and market share.

The report states: "The company has opened 12 restaurants in the last ten years, and will continue to look for more sites to open where appropriate."

"To drive profitability and market share, the company will continue to focus on existing locations and develop opportunities for like for like growth, through further engagement with its employees and customers," directors say.

They say that "the business operates in a very competitive and fragmented market which is constantly bringing new concepts and products to the expanding customer base, however we believe that Nando’s offers a unique product that gives us a competitive advantage."

Numbers employed declined 459 from 454 with staff costs increasing from €9.28 million to €9.3 million.

The profits last year take account of non-cash depreciation costs of €1 million and amortisation of fixed assets of €676,150.

At the end of February last, the firm had accumulated profits of €19.5 million. The firm’s cash increased from €18.45m to €22.19m

Pay to directors last year totaled €225,042 made up of €184,542 in pay and €40,500 in pension payments.

The company’s after tax profits totaled €2.43 million after a corporation tax bill of €351,042.