Recipe Unlimited expects full restaurants on Mother’s Day as pandemic rules ease

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After two years of dining room closures, the parent company behind restaurants like Swiss Chalet, The Keg and Montana’s is gearing up for one of the most lucrative dine-in days of the year.

After two years of dining room closures, the parent company behind restaurants like Swiss Chalet, The Keg and Montana’s is gearing up for one of the most lucrative dine-in days of the year.

“This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and for most of the country, it will be the first Mother’s Day weekend since 2019 that restaurants are open,” said Recipe Unlimited Corp. CEO Frank Hennessey. , in an earnings conference call Thursday.

“We expect to be extremely busy.”

The company, which also includes brands like Harvey’s, St-Hubert and Kelsey’s, posted a 62% increase in net profit in the first quarter despite 79 fewer restaurants and forced closures due to COVID-19.

Recipe Unlimited continues to increase its restaurant workforce, although Hennessey said labor availability appears to be slowly improving.

Still, he said the company plans to use the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program to recruit new staff.

“We are committed to approximately 500 people joining our team across the country,” Hennessey said.

Meanwhile, commodity inflation continues to be the biggest challenge facing the company, he said.

“The war in Europe continues to put pressure on an already strained global supply chain, but particularly on food prices,” Hennessey said.

Recipe Unlimited has seen dairy prices rise and expects further increases for poultry, he said.

In the quarter ended March 27, the Ontario-based restaurant company said it earned $21.1 million or 36 cents per diluted share, up from $13 million or 22 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue for the three-month period was $272.6 million, up 40% from $194.1 million in the first quarter of 2021, as same restaurant sales increased 38.8 %.

Hennessey said the strong results would support “an immediate reintroduction of a dividend”.

However, he said, since the company has received COVID-related government grants following dining room closures, it will not pay a dividend.

“Current legislation is unclear as to how prior tax year grants will be treated in the event the company reintroduces a dividend,” Hennessey said. “Specifically, the company may be required to repay grants received in the first quarter in the event that we pay a dividend at any time in 2022.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 5, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:RECP)

Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press

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