Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca has plunged into a £4.7m loss, blaming a norovirus outbreak last year which forced it to close nine restaurants.
Wahaca said sinking into the red was partly due to one-off costs of £700,000, which sent profits down from £600,000 a year earlier.
Sales at the group, owned by Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers came in flat at £46.6million.
Around 160 customers and a quarter of Wahaca’s staff were taken ill in October after it was hit by an ‘unprecedented’ outbreak of Norovirus.
The restaurant industry has been going through a difficult time recently as it copes with tighter household budgets and a saturated market.
Pizza chain Prezzo is preparing to close 94 sites – around a third of its restaurants – while Jamie’s Italian is shutting 12 of its 37 sites.
Burger chain Byron is also planning to close 20.
But Wahaca brushed off concerns about the sector, saying its menu offered ‘good value for money’ putting it in a strong position compared to its rivals.