Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group to concentrate store closures outside of London

Francesca Washtell
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Frankie & Benny's is The Restaurant Group's biggest brand (Source: The Restaurant Group)

Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group (TRG) will focus the vast majority of its upcoming restaurant closures outside of London.

The FTSE 250-listed firm announced on Friday it is set to close 33 of its most underperforming sites, including 14 Frankie & Benny's branches and 11 Chiquito restaurants after a "challenging trading" period.

Just two of the restaurants facing the chop within the next four to six weeks will be in the capital, a spokesperson for the company told City A.M. These are a Garfunkel's branch on the Strand and a Coast to Coast site in Wembley.

The other closures will be spread across the UK, in locations such as Bangor, Newcastle and York, as well as in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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This is a strategic offload for the company, which has already opened seven new sites in 2016 and is planning to open 28 in the calendar year as a whole.

TRG operates more than 500 restaurants and pubs in the UK as a whole, and plans to double in size in the next eight to 10 years.

In its half-year results last week, TRG said it had been a "challenging trading period" for its leisure brands, but that its Frankie & Benny's chain had suffered the most.

The group admitted it had lost customers over significant price increases, a change in menus that was implemented without sufficient testing and a lack of leadership for the brand over the last two years that had resulted in an "inconsistent and unsatisfactory service experience" for many of its customers.

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TRG's operating profit fell 4.4 per cent to £37.5m in the 27 weeks to 3 July.

As well as the 14 Frankie & Benny's branch closures, TRG said it would also reintroduce established favourites from the old menu to try and entice back customers.

Earlier this month, the group replaced former chief executive Danny Breithaupt with ex-Paddy Power chief operating officer Andy McCue.