Frankie & Benny’s owner eyes tasty figures

A STRONG Christmas has boosted the owner of restaurant chains Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s as it gears up for a bumper year for cinema admissions.

Restaurant Group, which has a large number of its 450-strong portfolio of restaurants and pubs on leisure parks, said like-for-like sales jumped 5 per cent in the two-week holiday period to 4 January.

It described its prospects for this year and 2016 as positive because a stronger film release schedule, including new James Bond and Star Wars titles, should boost attendances at cinemas after the worst year for box office admissions in many years.

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With the company opening a total of 40 restaurants last year, up from 35 the previous year, turnover lifted 9.6 per cent in the year to 28 December. Like-for-like sales increased by 2.8 per cent, according to yesterday’s trading update.

The company, which also operates the Chiquito and Coast to Coast retaurant brands, said it has plans to open between 42 and 50 new sites in 2015.