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The Restaurant Group puts 23 sites up for sale

26 January 2017 by
The Restaurant Group puts 23 sites up for sale

Casual dining giant The Restaurant Group (TRG) has put 23 of its sites under a variety of different brands up for sale.

The move comes just a few days after the firm unveiled a 5.9% drop in its Q4 like-for-like sales and admitted that it needed to make "substantial price and proposition changes".

The restaurants on sale have already closed and are not trading.

TRG, which operates brands including Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito and Garfunkel's, provided an update on its results for the 53 weeks ended 1 January 2017 earlier this week.

In that update, it indicated that it had closed 37 sites and opened 24 over the period. Total turnover for the period was up 3.7% against the prior year, to £710.7m, although like-for-like sales were down 3.9%.

It blamed "underperformance across our leisure brands" for the sharp dip in Q4 like-for-likes.

Now it has instructed international property agency Savills to sell 23 of its former restaurants in England, Scotland and Wales.

The units are available on an individual basis and comprise a mix of former Frankie & Benny's, Chiquito, Joe's Kitchen, Coast to Coast, Garfunkel's and Filling Station restaurants, some of which are in major retail and leisure parks, shopping centres and roadsides. They are being sold with existing planning and licensing consents.

The full list of properties for sale includes:

1. Filling Station, Aberdeen
2. Chiquito, Barking
3. Frankie & Benny's, Barrow in Furness
4. Frankie & Benny's, Bath
5. Chiquito, Blackburn
6. Chiquito, Cardiff (Old Brewery Quarter)
7. Chiquito, Cardiff (Red Dragon Centre)
8. Chiquito, Chelmsford
9. Frankie & Benny's, Coventry
10. Joe's Kitchen, Derby
11. Frankie & Benny's, Gateshead
12. Chiquito, Glasgow
13. Chiquito, Hamilton
14. Frankie & Benny's, London Finchley Road
15. Frankie & Benny's, London Greenwich
16. Garfunkel's, London Strand
17. Chiquito, Milton Keynes
18. Coast to Coast, Newcastle Upon Tyne
19. Joe's Kitchen, Nottingham
20. Frankie & Benny's, Redhill
21. Frankie & Benny's, Stafford
22. Coast to Coast, Wembley
23. Frankie & Benny's, York

David Bell, head of UK leisure at Savills, said: "We are pleased to be marketing this high-profile portfolio on behalf of TRG. Due to the mix of locations and diverse nature of the restaurants involved, we are anticipating strong interest from a wide variety of existing retail and leisure operators as well as new entrants."

Savills is also retained to acquire new sites for TRG across the Midlands, East Anglia, the South of England and Wales.

Describing recent trade as "challenging", TRG said earlier this week that it realised it needed to make substantial price and proposition changes, having already started price and menu trials across Frankie & Benny's.

Among the measures it will take in its programme of transformation are a proposition improvement to make sure the business is competitive on value, improved operating processes to deliver attentive and engaging service, and a leaner, faster and more focused business.

"We expect the trading performance of the business in the first half of 2017 to remain difficult, but anticipate momentum improving towards the end of this transitional year as our initiatives start to take effect" the company said in a statement.

It also warned that it would face external cost pressures from increases in the National Living Wage, the National Minimum Wage, the Apprenticeship Levy, the revaluation of business rates, higher energy taxes and increased purchasing costs due to the combined effects of a devalued pound, and commodity inflation.

Chief executive Andy McCue, who replaced Danny Breithaupt last year, said: "Since joining the group in September, I have been impressed by my colleagues' passion for our brands, and commitment to our customers through what has been a very difficult trading period. I'd like to thank them all for their positive contribution, and for their continuing support, as we make the necessary changes to offer better value and satisfaction to our customers."

The Restaurant Group sees sharp drop in sales >>

Restaurant Group chief executive ousted >>

TRG shareholders rebel over executive pay >>

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