Sales decline slows at '˜transitional' Restaurant Group

The owner of Frankie & Benny's has reported a slowdown in its sales decline as the firm presses ahead with its turnaround plan.

The owner of Frankie & Benny's is pressing ahead with its turnaround plan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The Restaurant Group said like-for-like sales fell 1.8 per cent in the 20 weeks to 21 May, with total sales declining 1.5 per cent.

However, the figures mark an improvement on the fourth quarter, which saw like-for-like sales drop 5.9 per cent.

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The company, which is also behind Garfunkel’s, has been closing under-performing restaurants and rejigging menus as part of a turnaround attempt under chief executive Andy McCue.

The Restaurant Group said the implementation of its strategy was “progressing well”, while also pointing to favourable weather that helped sales at its pubs business.

In a trading update, the firm said: “2017 is a transitional year. We continue to address the competitiveness of our leisure businesses and are focused on achieving a sustainable volume-led turnaround.

“Where opportunities to accelerate our progress present themselves, we will invest appropriately.”

The company has admitted it has lost value-conscious customers at Frankie & Benny’s after significant price hikes and the firm has previously pledged to “look at the pricing architecture of the menu” and “reinvigorate the value offer” in a bid to attract more families to its outlets.

The Restaurant Group posted a pre-tax loss of £40 million last year after being stung with a £117m exceptional charge linked to restructuring efforts.

Today the company said it expects profits for this year to meet market expectations.

The Restaurant Group operates more than 400 restaurants and pubs and it is also behind Chiquito, Coast To Coast and Brunning & Price.