The Restaurant Group tucks in to hearty sales

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in The Restaurant Group reached a record high yesterday after the owner of the Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s chains posted solid full-year figures and said it had made a strong start to 2013.

The company, which runs more than 400 restaurants and pubs in the UK, said pre-tax profits rose seven per cent to £64.6m in 2012, with sales up nine per cent to £533m.

Excluding new site openings, sales were up 4.5 per cent while like-for-like sales rose 6.5 per cent in the first eight weeks of the year,

Andrew Page, chief executive, said while the economic downturn presented “formidable trading challenges” its restaurants had benefitted from being located away from the fragile high street in leisure parks near cinema complexes.

He also said while many of its peers were vying for customers’ cash with offers and promotions, that the group “had never got onto that deep discounting bandwagon”, with “modest” revenues driven by discounting.

It plans to ramp up openings this year to between 28 to 35 new sites compared to 28 last year.

Page said it has tested more than 150 product lines for horsemeat since the start of the scandal, which so far show no signs of contamination. In contrast, he said the group sold more burgers in February on last year.