The Restaurant Group, which owns a chain of British restaurants and pubs, is to close at least 88 of its Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito branches after falling to a £79m first-half loss.
Although improvements to the menu at both Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito restaurants were made, sales continued to fall, with 88 stores now set to shut over the next six years, and nearly 100 more scheduled for closure in the long run.
Alongside Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito, some Garfunkel’s and Coast to Coast restaurants, are also expected to cease trading. This is set to happen at current ‘unattractive’ locations when their leases expire, or if the branches reach a contractual break period.
Conversion to Wagamama
It’s expected that 15 of these restaurants will be converted to the Wagamama brand, which was bought out by the group last year in a £559m deal.
The first-half losses came after a £115.7m writedown of the value of property assets, but like-for-like sales for the period rose by four per cent, the company said.
Total sales also surged on the back of its acquisition, with the brand driving the company to a 58 per cent increase in total sales to £515.9 million for the period.
‘Improving our brand offerings and delivering the best possible experience’
Debbie Hewitt, non-executive chairman of The Restaurant Group, said, "We continue to focus on improving our brand offerings and delivering the best possible experience to our customers whilst optimising our leisure business to enhance the overall group performance.
"Prevailing feeling is that uncertainty is having an impact on consumer sentiment but we believe we have a sufficiently strong set of brands.
"Regarding Brexit, the supply of food and labour are the two issues we want clarity on and are working to ensure we are as prepared as possible."
Andy Hornby, who joined as chief executive of the Restaurant Group in August, said, “I am delighted to have joined The Restaurant Group in August.
"Despite the well documented challenges facing the casual dining sector, the group's diversified set of brands provides firm foundations."