Italian restaurant group San Carlo saw sales increase by 14.8% over the festive season just months after annual turnover reached a record £54.2m.
Life-for-like sales at the 21-site strong family owned group, which includes the San Carlo, Cicchetti, Fumo, Flying Pizza and Signor Sassi brands, were up 4.6% in the five weeks to the 5 January 2019.
Managing director, Marcello Distefano, said: "This was far and away the group's best-ever Christmas, with record customer numbers and sales across the group. While customers may have cut back on the high street, they continued to indulge at the dining table, enjoying authentic Italian food with family and friends. The results support our decision to invest significantly last year in bringing our award-winning concepts to more locations at home and overseas."
The sales increase was aided by several new openings in the past 12 months including San Carlo in London's St James' and Alto by San Carlo on the rooftop of Selfridges, Oxford Street. The group also opened its fourth overseas site in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A full-year trading update to September 2018 saw sales increase by 8.6% to £54.3m, but this failed to offset cost pressures that eroded underlying profit from £3.4m in 2016/17 to £2.2m in 2017/18.
San Carlo's founder and chairman Carlo Distefano opened his first restaurant in Temple Street, Birmingham, in 1992.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).