The Individual Restaurant Company (IRC), which operates the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, saw profits fall 14% on 2010 despite strong trading before Christmas.
The company's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the 12 months to 31 December 2010 were £4.3m across the group, down from £5m. Restaurant EBITDA (which does not take account of central costs) were down to £7.7m from £8.8m.
IRC also warned that although it had seen improved sales in January and February 2011, the rate of growth had slowed in March.
"The rate of sales growth in March was lower than January and February and we are experiencing an increased level of cost inflation; in particular the uplifts in alcohol duty and the national minimum wage, the change in Employers National Insurance contributions and food cost inflation," chairman Robert Breare said.
The firm also indicated it would stick by its guns and continue to refrain from entering the mass discounting market. "Both brands continue to offer guests excellent value for money as verified by regular competitor pricing surveys undertaken by the group," Breare said.
IRC operates a total of 33 restaurants, including 22 Piccolinos and 11 Restaurant Bar & Grills.
By Neil Gerrard
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