Ivy owner stung by soaring business rates

Richard Caring’s restaurant empire eked out a rise in sales in 2017, but profits at the Ivy owner were dragged back by soaring business rates.

Filings for Mr Caring’s Caprice Holdings, which also includes upmarket haunts Daphne’s and Sexy Fish, show that turnover nudged up 0.8% to £67.7 million in the year to December 31 2017.

Like for like sales were up 2.1%, driven by strong performances at Daphne’s, J Sheekey and The Ivy, which was boosted by its 100th anniversary year.

Pre-tax profit was up from £8.7 million to £9.2 million, but adjusted earnings – a more closely watched benchmark – fell from £12.4 million to £11.1 million.

Operating profit fell from £8.7 million to £7.2 million.

Animal Ball – London
Richard Caring with Patricia Mondinni (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The group said it was stung by “well publicised cost increases in a number of key areas for the hospitality industry”, including wage costs and “significant increases in both rent and business rates”.

Nevertheless, the board described the performance for the year as “satisfactory” and “creditable” in a tough market.

Mr Caring also owns Mayfair nightclub Annabel’s and restaurant chain Bill’s.

The casual dining sector will be hoping for a better year than 2018, which was marred by several high-profile store closure programmes and administrations that affected the likes of burger chain Byron, Prezzo and steak eatery Gaucho.