Restaurant brands Ask Italian and Zizzi have unveiled a strong increase in sales and profits, just two months after the group was acquired by private equity firm Bridgepoint.
Bridgepoint bought the brands from Gondola for £250m in December, with the transaction completing last month.
The combined business has now announced a 9.6% increase in total sales to £119m for the past 28 weeks to 11 January 2015, with EBITDA up 21.1% to £17.6m.
The business said that trading across both brands had been "strong" during the whole of 2014, and that Christmas was "no exception", as the group recorded the highest-ever weekly sales for two consecutive weeks.
Since July, Zizzi has opened two restaurants (in Telford and Stratford-upon-Avon), while a further three Zizzis and another five Asks are planned for the second half of the year. Two of these opened in January - the fourth Zizzi unit in Glasgow, in the Silverburn shopping centre extension, and an Ask Italian in Swindon's Regents Circus.
The Ask Italian estate has been undergoing gradual overhaul. A total of 80 of its 110 locations has been revamped since 2012. Some of its most recent openings under the new format including Bluewater and New Street in Birmingham, are among the top 10 grossing restaurants in the estate.
Ask-Zizzi chief executive Steve Holmes said: "These are exciting times for Ask-Zizzi. Bridgepoint's acquisition of our business has just completed and we are delivering strong trading momentum.
"With a new supportive investor, our focus now is on the continued evolution of our brands, investment in our estate of restaurants and the development of our footprint in the UK casual dining market."