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Inside track

by CD , Friday 28th January 2005 11:51
What business is it in?
High-street bar chain (www.slugandlettuce.co.uk), with 57 units nationwide.

What brands does it operate?
It's one of the many brands that make up SFI Group, which also includes Bar Med, Litten Tree and Fiesta Havana.

Where is its head office and area of operation?
SFI is based in Woking, Surrey.

What sort of employer is it?
The group has more than 3,500 employees. Slug & Lettuce has just introduced a new management training scheme that has seen the creation of centres of excellence at bars across the UK. All new managers receive four weeks' induction training, which involves a couple of weeks in the classroom and a couple behind the bar. The company runs a similar programme for deputy managers and has recently incentivised its mystery shopper programme, which offers employees at sites that perform well vouchers to put towards a night out, or shopping. The recruitment website at www.sfi.group.co.uk provides weekly updated vacancy lists with information on each brand. A recruitment hotline also operates from the support centre on 01483 227958.

How does the future look?
Until recently, not too promising. The company had overextended itself in its quest to expand, but a debt-for-equity swap in April wiped out the £83.4m of debt that was threatening to suffocate it, presenting it with a second chance. SFI Group is currently consolidating its position and has begun a refurbishment programme initially focused on its Litten Tree bars. It's also trialling new bar concepts such as Label in Manchester.

What's its form?
Although the company isn't out of the woods yet, the financial surgery has helped it to move in the right direction, with a reported narrowing of losses in the year ending 29 May 2004. The now-delisted company made a pre-tax loss of £26.4m for the year (2003: £110m loss) on a turnover of £128.7m.

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