Prezzo steps up expansion plan as profits surge

 
Kasmira Jefford
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RESTAURANT group Prezzo unveiled plans yesterday to open 20 new restaurants this year as part of its ambitious expansion programme, as it reported a surge in full year profits.

The pizza and pasta chain, which runs 189 restaurants, said adjusted pre-tax profits rose 14 per cent to £16.4m in the year to 1 January, boosted by the opening of 27 new sites and robust trading in the final quarter of the year.

Sales rose 18 per cent to £123.9m, helped by its new restaurants, which were launched primarily in cities including Edinburgh, Manchester and suburban London locations.

It now plans to open more restaurants in Bath, Bristol and Cobham.

Chief executive John Kaye said the group also had “increasing confidence” in Chimichanga, its Mexican restaurant chain. “After adding two more successful units in 2011, further planned openings in 2012 will take us forward to the milestone of 20 branches trading,” Kaye said.

Prezzo was founded in 2000 by Kaye, the scion of a family of restaurateurs, who have built a record number of well-known brands over the past five decades.

His father Reginald and uncle Philip founded Golden Egg, Deep Pan Pizza and Garfunkel’s, while cousins Adam and Sam Kaye founded rival chains Ask and Zizzi.

Prezzo, which floated on Aim in 2002, also owns Caffe Uno, a brand it bought along with several sites from Paramount in 2010 after it fell into administration.

Despite the uncertain outlook, the group said it was confident of delivering solid growth in 2012.