Red numbers and fewer guests: Vapianos half-year figures show the crash of the restaurant chain – business


At first glance one might think that Vapiano made the turn. The restaurant chain, which has been plagued for years, increased its turnover in the first half of 2019 by 12.3 percent to € 196.6 million, as the Cologne-based company announced on Wednesday. But a second glance shows that Vapiano is still deep in the crisis. Because the growth is solely due to new openings and acquisitions. Like-for-like sales in comparable territory, sales in Germany fell by 3.4 percent. This means that the existing restaurants generate less.

These figures are a good reflection of Vapiano's problems: an expansionary course that is unlikely to be successful and a core business that is no longer profitable. Group CEO Vanessa Hall was also alarmed and emphasized that one had to quickly improve the "guest loyalty". Declining customer numbers are mentioned as the main reason for the bad business. Overall, this led to a loss of 18 million euros in the first half of the year. With special write-offs and one-off effects for the restructuring, Vapiano was even in the red for the first six months with 34.3 million euros.

Already in the previous year posted a loss of 101 million euros. In order to make up for the deficits, equity had to make do – it had been shrinking since the beginning of the year from around 47 to just 12 million euros. At the same time, net debt rose significantly to 470 million euros

Long lines despite fewer guests

Surprisingly, this bad record does not come. In 2015, first reports made the round, according to which there were hygiene deficiencies in individual stores. Employees reported "noodles with a greenish tinge", customers increasingly complained about improper preparation. Doubts grew as to whether short-term temporary workers could really be the best chefs for restaurant-level dining.

Anyone visiting a Vapiano store today also realizes that the organization of the restaurants is not efficient enough. Even with normal guest incur long lines form. "The time invested in the company's restructuring and the associated costs have diverted society from its essential responsibilities," Hall said on the numbers.

The Briton, however, is only interim at the helm of Vapiano used. Because just a few weeks ago, the previous boss Cornelius Everke had thrown his job after only nine months. Hall, who had previously worked on the board and in various leadership positions in the hospitality industry, inherited it at short notice. It now has to lead a company that has taken on a large-scale expansion back to the plus.

Investor advocates see Vapiano shares critically

Because it is above all the foreign markets that are causing problems for Vapiano. In countries like the USA or Sweden, the minus is even greater than in Germany. The planned sale of the US business is still not ready to go. In total, Vapiano Vapiano has 235 restaurants in the world. The ambitious expansion had begun after the IPO in 2017.

Investor protectors see the development of Vapiano critical. Since the IPO a good two years ago, the share has lost around 80 percent of its output value. Thomas Hechtfischer of the German Protection Association for Securities Ownership (DSW) said to the half-year figures, the equity ratio is "underground". Vapiano urgently needed to do his homework and improve the earnings situation.

After the announcement of the numbers, the stock fell only slightly on Wednesday. It should play a role that continue to financially strong major shareholders on board, including the Tchibo heirs Günter and Daniela heart and Wella heiress Gisa Sander. They were ready in the spring to give a big loan and so alleviate the acute financial difficulties. (with dpa)

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