Casual dining operator Tragus saw a "creditable performance" over the Christmas period, with like-for-like sales down 3.3% across the group.
The Blackstone-owned company, which runs the Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Strada chains of restaurants, said trading was in-line with a tough economic climate.
Tragus reported a 9% rise in turnover for the first half of the financial year but warned that the outlook for 2009 "remains challenging across the sector".
The company said it had addressed the tougher economic landscape through an accelerated cost savings programme and set menus and two-for-one deals to lure in customers.
Tragus opened seven new restaurants in the six months to 23 November 2008, and plans to launch a further 10 in the second half of the financial year.
These include a Café Rouge site in the North Terminal redevelopment at Gatwick airport, as well as a Bella Italia restaurant in Bristol's Cabot Square development and a Strada outlet in Stratford upon Avon.
Chief executive Graham Turner warned that conditions for the second half of the year and beyond will be "challenging".
"We continue to face pressure on our input costs particularly in light of the decreasing value of Sterling against the Euro," he said.
However, Turner added that longer term, Tragus remained "very positive" about the UK casual dining market.
He said: "We feel well positioned in the current challenging economic environment with our range of popular brands and value for money offerings to take advantage of the favourable trends in casual dining."
By Kerstin Kühn
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