Restaurants in leisure parks, cinemas and airports came up trumps for the Restaurant Group last year, while its high-street offering continued to struggle.
A strong second-half performance by its concession and leisure park sites helped the group report like-for-like sales up 5% for the year ended 31 December.
The figures were achieved despite "quieter trading" at its high-street outlets over the Christmas period.
"If you'd asked us a year ago we'd have been pretty happy with 3%," said group managing director Andrew Page.
Page added that he was particularly pleased with the success of recent openings, such as the new concession offerings at Gatwick Airport.
The group plans to open up to 30 new outlets this year - mostly in cinema multiplexes and out-of-town leisure sites - led by star-performer Frankie & Benny's, new concession offerings and a reinvigorated Chiquito brand.
Page has made no secret of his desire for "one or two" acquisitions to accelerate the group's expansion, having previously failed to acquire Ask Central.
However, a more pressing task will be to turn around the underperforming Est Est Est and Caff‚ Uno brands, which saw like-for-like sales down 3.9% and 0.7% respectively in the six months to 30 June 2004.