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Frankie & Benny's pushes TRG profits up by 30%

09 March 2005 by

The Restaurant Group's (TRG) full-year profits have soared by almost 30%, thanks to a sparkling performance from its Frankie & Benny's restaurants.

The American-Italian restaurants saw like-for-like sales increase by nearly 8% last year, contributing £97.4m to the group's coffers - almost a fifth of turnover.

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Frankie & Benny's: new restaurants planned
Building on this success, TRG will open 20 new Frankie & Benny's this year at retail and leisure parks across the country. This will include the chain's 100th UK store. The group was also cheered by a strong recovery at its Chiquito Mexican restaurants, which increased profits by 40% and contributed £27.2m in sales. Improved performance followed the introduction of a new management team in 2004. While the company's airport concessions performed strongly its high-street division - including Est Est Est and Caffé Uno - had a tougher time. Like-for-like sales were down by 2.1% at Est Est Est and by 1% at Caffé Uno. It is likely that the struggling Est Est Est brand will be sold to high-street bar operator Living Ventures. In the same deal, TRG is believed to be buying a 55% stake in Living Ventures and backing a roll-out of the group's brands, which include Living Room, Prohibition and Mosquito. Turnover at TRG in the year ended 31 December 2004 increased 12.3% to £255.4m, and pre-tax profit was up by 28.4% to £24.7m. Company net debt was reduced by £27m to £11m. TRG said current trading was encouraging, with like-for-like sales up 3%. by Chris Druce Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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