THE owner of the Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s restaurant chains is planning to open up to 30 sites this year after serving up a 7 per cent rise in first-half profits.
The Restaurant Group, which also runs the Chiquito and Filling Station brands, posted a pre-tax profit of £26.1 million for the six months to 1 July, up from £24.4m a year earlier, on total revenues 7.5 per cent higher at £252m.
On a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of the eight venues it opened during the first half, sales were up 3.25 per cent and chairman Alan Jackson said: “We expect trading conditions during the second half to be similar to those we experienced during the first half of the year and I am confident that the group is well placed to deliver further good progress.”
The group opened two concessions in Glasgow airport during the first half and expects to add to its Scottish presence next year, although it is yet to confirm the locations.
Jackson said the group, which has around 400 restaurants, was delighted with the performance of its first American-themed Coast to Coast outlet at Brighton marina. It recently opened a second in Newcastle and a third opens in October in Stevenage alongside existing Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito branches.
With most of its restaurants in out-of-town retail parks and many near cinemas, Jackson said the group was benefiting from operating in locations that are proving more resilient than the high street.
Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram said the results were in line with expectations “and reflected another impressive performance against a challenging backdrop”.
Batram, who rates the group as a “buy”, said the 12.5 per cent increase in the interim dividend to 4.5p per share was higher than expected.
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