Luminar, operator of the Chicago Rock Café chain, has reported a dip in half-year profits, as competition in the sector remains fierce.
Its results for the full year would be "heavily affected" by the key Christmas period, it added.
For the 26 weeks to 29 August, total like-for-like sales were down by 3.7% and pre-tax profit was £25m, compared with £27m at the same point last year.
While the like-for-like figures were still negative, chief executive Stephen Thomas was bullish that progress was being made.
Since the end of the interim period, like-for-likes had been improving and in October were down by just 1%.
"Whilst we are still operating in a highly competitive marketplace, we are making progress building the foundations for a business that will create sustainable and more predictable performance," he said.
by Nic Paton
Buy this week's Caterer magazine for more industry news and analysis