Vapiano suspended from the zeitgeist
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The battered restaurant chain Vapiano reports increasing sales for the first half of the year, but the reason for this was only new store openings. Experts advise realigning the business model to solve a key problem.
DThe numbers of the battered restaurant chain Vapiano remain bad. Although the company reported a revenue increase of 12.3 percent to just under 197 million euros for the first half of the year. But the reason for this are only new openings and acquisitions of restaurants. On a comparable basis, revenues continue to decline.
The business in the already existing branches decreased by more than three percent. As a reason Vapiano called continuous declining numbers of guests. "A growth story, as Vapiano once was, looks different," comments a market expert. "What's missing is a vision or a change that brings back old promise rates."
There are ideas for it long ago. For example, the company has repeatedly announced that it will slow down the pace of expansion in recent years and, above all, improve the internal processes in the kitchens and streamline the menu to significantly reduce waiting times. In addition, Vapiano is experimenting with new ordering systems, whether via app or order screen in the restaurants. But the strategy sweeper obviously does not work.
"The time invested in the company's restructuring and the associated costs have distracted the company from its essential tasks," says Vanessa Hall, who has been the interim president of Vapiano for a few weeks, after CEO Cornelius Everke surprisingly resigned Has. Her focus now is on improving guest loyalty and thus increasing sales at existing locations.
Six months, 18 million euros minus
And that is urgently needed. Because the continuing weakness costs Vapiano a lot of money. In 2018, the minus was a stately 101 million euros. Although such dimensions will no longer be reached in the first half of 2019, especially since one-time effects also played a major role at the time. However, the profitability of Vapiano has fallen further, the company has to admit in its balance sheet report.
Both the adjusted Ebitda, ie earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of tangible assets and amortization of intangible assets, as well as the adjusted Ebitda margin are lower than in the already weak prior-year period.
The bottom line is after the first six months, a minus of 18 million euros. Adding special depreciation and one-time effects for the restructuring adds up to minus 34.3 million euros. The equity decreases accordingly, from 46.9 to only 11.9 million euros, it says in a corporation release. For the full year Vapiano continues to expect a loss in the mid two-digit million range.
In 2021 black numbers should be written again. For this purpose, banks and major shareholders granted a reorganization financing of 30 million euros in the summer. Where this help has its price: According to reports, the shareholders demand between ten and 13 percent interest on the cash injection. The donors include the Hamburg billionaire Herz family and Wella heiress Gisa Sander and her husband Hans-Joachim.
In return, the financiers have clear ideas. "In order to be able to grow safely again, I would fully rely on the card franchise," Sander recently told the "Spiegel". This would tie up less capital and also solve another massive problem: "In our own restaurants we have not been able to recruit sufficiently qualified employees and train according to Vapiano standards." Franchisees are better at this and would also have the better in the guest look. "
Vapiano has lost this contact with its customers over the past few years as part of the large-scale growth strategy. "When I expand, I have to make sure the existing restaurants are doing well. But at Vapiano, no one cared about the construction sites, "say experts. For Klaus-Dieter Koch, the founder and managing director of the brand consulting firm BrandTrust, the former flagship Vapiano model even survived.
"The problem of Vapiano is quite fundamental", analyzes the expert. "The business model was once fresh and new and outstanding, but has now overtaken. Because the eating habits have changed radically, but Vapiano has stopped and has not co-developed. "The menu is dominated by pizza and pasta, that fit no longer to the discussion of carbohydrates. And even snake would no longer be a guest today, even if he can look into the kitchens.
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