THE restaurant group headed by chef Nico Simeone made a £1.2 million loss during the 15 months to last June, but created 277 jobs over this period in spite of the coronavirus pandemic as its new meal delivery venture took off.

Glasgow-based Simeone Group said the Home X ready-to-plate meal delivery business had “played a pivotal role” in helping it “survive the challenges of Covid”.

It said Home X had contributed £7.3 million of revenues between the launch of this venture in October 2020 and June 2021.

Over the 15-month accounting period to last June, Simeone Group’s revenues totalled £18.1m. Revenues were £9.1m in the prior 12 months to March 2020.

Simeone Group, which is wholly owned by Mr Simeone and has been building its Six by Nico restaurant portfolio, said that it had made an operating and post-tax loss of £1.2m in the 15 months to June 2021, after exceptionals.

It added that, before exceptionals, it made an operating and post-tax loss of around £400,000 for the 15-month period, compared with a profit of £2m in the prior year.

Simeone Group noted that its creation during the 15-month accounting period of a further 277 jobs, mostly in Scotland, had taken its overall headcount to 474 at the end of June 2021.

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It added: “With the UK hospitality sector pummelled by coronavirus restrictions, Simeone Group’s decision to invest £1.5m in a ‘restaurant-at-home’ business helped preserve hundreds of jobs during the worst of the crisis.”

The Home X operation, which Simeone Group noted is centred upon a 12,000 sq ft “dark kitchen” at Anniesland in Glasgow, delivers chilled meals throughout the UK.

Simeone Group said: “Imagination and creativity are embedded in the DNA of the business – qualities which Home X drew upon heavily and at one point over 150 staff were employed by the venture.”

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Simeone Group chairman Rob Wirszycz said: “When you consider that our restaurants were closed and unable to trade for 32 out of the 64 weeks covered by our accounts – and even when open were subject to drastically reduced capacity – these results are nothing short of astonishing. They are testament to Nico’s leadership and the resilience and determination of the entire business.”

The group noted that it now employs 560 staff across its 11 restaurants and industrial dark kitchen.

It added that it had, since the year-end, opened two further Six by Nico restaurants, at Canary Wharf in London and in Dublin. The group has two Six by Nico restaurants in Glasgow and another in London, at Fitzrovia. There are also Six by Nico restaurants in Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool and Belfast.

Simeone Group noted it had also opened a Chateau X steak restaurant in Glasgow.

It has also launched Beat 6, a restaurant at Dennistoun in Glasgow which, the group noted, donates 100 per cent of its profits to the Beatson Cancer Charity.

Mr Simeone, who launched the company in 2017, said the pandemic had proved to be “an existential threat” for the UK hospitality industry.

He added: “When we realised just how destabilising it was going to be, with shutdown after shutdown and with capacity restrictions even when we were allowed to open, we knew we had [to] offer something radically different if we were to survive. It’s one of our proudest achievements that we launched Home X in just over seven weeks from the initial idea to the first meal being delivered to customers.

“Even we could not have predicted the unbelievable demand. At peak, we were mailing out 6,000 restaurant-quality meals with wine for customers to enjoy at home, with overwhelmingly positive feedback.”