SHAKEY’s Pizza Asia Ventures, Inc. (SPAVI) swung to a net loss in the six months to June as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to lock stores since mid-March.

In a statement Wednesday, the restaurant chain operator said it booked a net loss of P290 million in the first half, a turnaround of its P389-million net income in the same period last year.

Overall sales dropped 31% during the period, but the company did not disclose the figures as of Wednesday.

Fixed operating costs at both its stores and head office weighed on the bottom line, as well as P123-million one-off costs from streamlining and efficiency initiatives.

Without non-recurring expenses, the company’s net loss is P167 million.

When the government imposed a Luzon-wide lockdown in mid-March to contain the coronavirus outbreak, SPAVI said it had to close 91% of its overall store network.

As the quarantine protocols eased, SPAVI was able to reopen stores, with 267 stores or 95% of its network already operational at the end of June.

However, most of these are still on shortened hours and limited to delivery and carry-out services. This resulted in lost dine-in sales, but were partially offset by record sales from delivery and carry out.

“[T]here remain a number of bright spots, foremost of which is our core product pizza, which is the quintessential delivery and carry-out product,” SPAVI President and CEO Vicente L. Gregorio was quoted in the statement as saying.

“In spite of continuing lockdowns, we are looking to hit cash breakeven in the second half and should be on our way to recovery by 2021,” he added. “We are hopeful that the worst is now behind us.”

Among the company’s initiatives to preserve cash are cutting its capital expenditures by at least 60% and reducing annual dividend payments from 10 centavos to one centavo per share.

“Despite the challenges our business and the broader restaurant industry is facing, we remain optimistic about the future and are now readying ourselves to better compete in the so-called ‘new normal’,” Mr. Gregorio said.

SPAVI operates two restaurant brands in the Philippines: Shakey’s Pizza and Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken.

Its shares at the stock exchange increased 16 centavos or 3% to P5.50 each on Wednesday. — Denise A. Valdez