Extreme weather hits Frankie & Benny sales

The World Cup and recent heatwave have been unhelpful for the restaurant market.
The World Cup and recent heatwave have been unhelpful for the restaurant market.
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Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group is set to report another fall in sales this week after the firm suffered due to 2018’s extreme weather.

City broker Numis forecast the company, which also owns Garfunkel’s, Joe’s Kitchen and Chiquito, will post a 4 per cent dip in like-for-like sales in the first half. It has also pencilled in a fall in adjusted earnings for the period, from £26.5 million to £20.5m.

Tim Barrett, of Numis, said: “Analysis of The Restaurant Group’s volume recovery will be complicated by market softness associated with recent external factors.

“The World Cup and recent heatwave have been unhelpful for the restaurant market.”

Earlier this year the group warned sales in the first quarter had cooled during the wintry weather.

The results come at an increasingly challenging time for the sector, as soaring costs linked to the Brexit-hit pound, the resultant collapse in consumer confidence and rising business rates have dented the sector.

Burger chain Byron, Jamie’s Italian and Prezzo all undertaking company voluntary arrangements this year, which saw hundreds of jobs lost and restaurants closed down. Gaucho has fallen into administration, with banking groups Investec and SC Lowy reported to be eyeing up a bid for the chain.

Chief executive Andy McCue is overseeing a turnaround at The Restaurant Group, which has seen a revamp of pricing, food quality and marketing. It has closed 26 out of a planned 41 outlets so far this year.

Barrett said: “We remain comfortable that management has taken the right steps to reposition the business.”