Itsa 'phenomenal' year for Kemp firm after restructure
Celebrity food writer Domini Kemp's network of food businesses are on course to serve up healthy results in 2018 after a "phenomenal" year.
It follows restructuring at Ms Kemp's Dublin-based Itsa Bagel Ltd which saw the closure of seven outlets, rebranding of a number of Itsa outlets to Joe's speciality coffee and disposal of leases.
Numbers employed by the business have increased in the past year by 10 to 110 and Ms Kemp said yesterday that "business and staff numbers will continue to grow".
Co-owner Ms Kemp was commenting on new accounts for the 12 months to the end of February last which show a post-tax loss of €62,901.
Ms Kemp said that "we made a positive earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (ebitda)" for the 12 months to the end of February last and "are on course for healthy results" in the year to the end of February 2018.
The business currently operates 13 locations including five Joe's speciality coffee outlets with only two outlets operating under the Itsa banner now - at Arnotts and Dún Laoghaire.
Ms Kemp said: "Despite seven closures over the last two years, revenues increased by 3pc.
"I think it's been a phenomenal year considering the significant changes to the group structure, disposal of leases, rebranding and investment in inventory systems. I am very proud of what our group has achieved this year."
Ms Kemp attributed the small loss in the year to the end of February last to the costs associated with the closure of units; changeover of brands from Itsa to Joe's and opening two new Joe's locations.
She pointed out that during this year the company's "cash position has improved and borrowings are down".
In the current year, Ms Kemp said: "We are seeing double-digit growth in Joe's brands and our wholesale business has increased significantly. We continue to look for new opportunities and are very excited about some of the conversations we are having in terms of business development."
On the year to end of February last, Ms Kemp described it as "another challenging year". "Pressure increased with higher rents, insurance - which has doubled in last five years - and wage increases."
She said: "Customers are still very price-sensitive, so these increases in overheads are predominantly absorbed."
She said that disposal of some onerous leases "will help us considerably in 2018".
The company's staff costs last year totalled €2.6m.
Ms Kemp said that the company's centralised kitchen has required a significant investment.
She said: "The last two years have been about rebranding existing locations to Joe's, disposing of non-performing outlets and trying to consolidate operations."