Owner of Frankie & Benny’s cashes in on austerity dining

City A.M. Reporter
RESTAURANT Group said yesterday its turnover rose nine per cent last year as more people opted to eat out at its casual dining chains rather than high-end restaurants.

The company, which owns the Frankie & Benny’s chains, said it expects to slightly beat analysts’ average forecast for pre-tax profit in the 52-week period of £64m.

Restaurant Group, which also operates the Garfunkel’s and Chiquito chains, said like-for-like sales increased 4.5 per cent for the year.

The FTSE 250 company, which changed its name to Restaurant Group in 2004, opened 28 restaurants in 2012 and said it would open between 28 and 35 sites in 2013. The company’s rival Marston’s had said like-for-like sales in its managed pubs business increased two per cent during the eight weeks to 24 November, with food sales rising 3.4 per cent.

“Being firmly placed in the Value For Money segment of the market, it has avoided the majority of deep discounting that has plagued the sector, thereby protecting brand equity,” said Canaccord Genuity analyst Wayne Brown in a note.

Restaurant Group’s shares, which rose about 34 per cent in the past year, closed down 4.76 per cent yesterday.