Recipe Unlimited plans for busy Mother’s Day

The Keg Steakhouse and Bar is shown at Sherway Gardens mall in Toronto on January 23, 2018. After two years of dining room closures, the parent company of restaurants Swiss Chalet, The Keg and Montana's is ready to open its doors for one of the most lucrative days for restaurants of the year.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette





The Keg Steakhouse and Bar is shown at Sherway Gardens mall in Toronto on January 23, 2018. After two years of dining room closures, the parent company of restaurants Swiss Chalet, The Keg and Montana’s is ready to open its doors for one of the most lucrative days for restaurants of the year.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

After two years of dining room closures, the parent company behind restaurants like Swiss Chalet, The Keg and Montana’s is preparing for one of the most lucrative restaurant days of the year.

“This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and for most of the country this will be the first Mother’s Day weekend since 2019 that restaurants have been open,” said Recipe Unlimited Corp. CEO Frank Hennessey during an earnings conference call Thursday.

“We’re expecting to be extremely busy.”

The company, which also includes brands like Harvey’s, St-Hubert and Kelsey’s, reported a 62 per cent increase in net profits in its first quarter despite 79 fewer restaurants and forced closures because of COVID-19.

Recipe Unlimited is still ramping up its restaurant workforce, though Hennessey said the availability of labour appears to be slowly improving.

Still, he said the company plans to use the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program to recruit new staff members.

“We have committed to about 500 people to join our team across the country,” Hennessey said.

Meanwhile, commodity inflation continues to be the biggest challenge facing the company, he said.

“The war in Europe continues to put pressure on an already stressed global supply chain but in particular food commodity prices,” Hennessey said.

Recipe Unlimited has seen the price of dairy increase and is expecting more increases in poultry, he said.

In the quarter ended March 27, the Ontario-based restaurant company said it earned $21.1 million or 36 cents per diluted share, compared with $13 million or 22 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenues for the three-month period were $272.6 million, up 40 per cent from $194.1 million in the first quarter of 2021 as same restaurant sales grew 38.8 per cent.

Hennessey said the strong results would support “an immediate reintroduction of a dividend.”

However, he said given the company received COVID-related government subsidies as a result of dining room closures, it will not be issuing a dividend.

“Current legislation is unclear with respect to how prior subsidies in the tax year will be treated in the event that the company reintroduces a dividend,” Hennessey said. “More specifically, it is possible that the company would be required to repay the subsidies received in Q1 in the event that we pay a dividend at any time during 2022.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2022.

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