Roadside convenience restaurant chain Oliver's Real Food (ASX: OLI) brought its EBITDA back into positive territory in the first half, despite fewer customers due to the effects of bushfires as well as a lower store count.
The effects of founder Jason Gunn's return to the business and turnaround strategy were already felt by mid-2019, but performance in the first half of FY20 shows just how far the healthy food purveyor has come.
After one-off items worth almost $1 million that negatively impacted the result, the company managed to pull off an EBITDA figure that was only just in the black at $44.
This represents a year-on-year improvement of $10.3 million, which is notable considering Oliver's had four fewer company-owned quick service restaurants at 25 nationwide.
Revenue only dropped 1.7 per cent to $17.94 million, and it appears sales would have grown if it weren't for the fire disaster that ravaged eastern Australia where Oliver's has its stores.
The group explained multiple road closures, store evacuations, power outages and the resultant travel warnings issued by local fire authorities deterred motorists and holiday makers from travelling throughout November and December.
The company did however record a net loss after tax of $3.65 million, compared to $11.5 million in H1FY19.
"The board and management feel compelled to acknowledge the fantastic performance of the store operations and supply chain teams in this difficult and challenging trading period," says Gunn.
"The dramatic improvement in operating performance in these challenging times is testament to the strong heart of the brand, the management, and the people that work in this business."
Oliver's also announced today its directors have decided to close the Coffs Harbour Southbound store effective 20 April 2020.
"A determination has been reached that this store is not only underperforming due to significant challenges with the site, but it has also cannibalised the Northbound store at Coffs Harbour, negatively impacting the trading performance of the Northbound store which had been trading profitably prior to the opening of the southbound store," the company said.
"We expect this decision will result in an increased profit contribution from the remaining Coffs Harbour store.
"The board and management look forward to moving beyond the remaining legacy issues from the past and producing a continuing increase in the companies profits and performance, the beginning of which has been demonstrated over the last half under challenging conditions."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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