Franco Manca and Real Greek operator Fulham Shore has reported both revenue and earnings will be ahead of last year and are "in line with market expectations".
That is according to a trading update filed by the company with the London Stock Exchange ahead of the publication of its results for the year ending 31 March 2019 in mid-July.
The group said growth has been driven by increasing customer numbers across both new and existing restaurants, with both brands steadily increasing turnover each quarter of this financial year, both in total revenue and in comparison to the previous year. This culminated in "a particularly strong trading performance" towards the end of the financial year.
As a result, Fulham Shore plans to open an increased number of restaurants across both brands in the financial year ending March 2020, financed primarily by internally generated cash flow.
Fulham Shore reported that new London Franco Manca openings are no longer starting out ‘borrowing' sales and customers from nearby existing Franco Manca sites, and many of the early sites are now achieving growth again. The Real Greek continues to trade well, especially in warmer, sunny weather, due to the availability of outside seating.
The group ended the financial year with 61 restaurants, comprising 44 Franco Manca in the UK, one Franco Manca in Italy and 16 Real Greek restaurants, having opened four new Franco Manca sites during the financial year in Bath and Cambridge, and Aldwych and St Paul's in London.
One new Franco Manca restaurant is being built in Greenwich, which will open early in the new financial year. A site has been signed for a Franco Manca pizzeria in Edinburgh and Fulham Shore is in legal negotiations on other restaurant leases across the UK for openings in the summer or autumn of 2019. The Real Greek is also negotiating for several new sites around the UK.
The report said: "Both businesses continue to trade well and in line with the board's expectations and we remain confident that the group will continue to thrive over the coming years."