UK restaurant group steadies sales

Garfunkels and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group today said it had halted a slide in sales after a hit from the volcanic ash crisis and slower trade during the World Cup.

The firm – which owns more than 40 restaurants in airports – was impacted by the air travel woes in the first six months of its year, while the World Cup added to pressure on the rest of its estate.

Interim like-for-like sales fell 0.5%, but it said it had seen more resilient recent trading since then, with like-for-like sales flat in the 35 weeks of the year so far.

Cost cutting helped the group deliver a 13% hike in underlying pre-tax profits to £24.6m (€29.5m) in the 27 weeks to July 4, or up 10% on a 26-week comparable basis.

This came despite the troubles at its airport eateries, where sales plummeted by around 90% over the week-long ash cloud crisis, knocking more than £500,000 off earnings.

Its Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito businesses were then impacted by weaker trade during the World Cup.

This left interim earnings below a year earlier at Chiquito, although Frankie & Benny’s grew sales and earnings in a “creditable” performance.

The Restaurant Group, which also owns the Brunning & Price pub restaurant chain, said it had maintained its programme of restaurant openings, with eight new outlets launched in the half-year and a further four since then.

It also aims to open another 20 to 25 by the end of its financial year.

The group is already eyeing a handful of new sites next year for the Garfunkel’s business, which performed “superbly” in the half-year thanks to significant growth in revenues and profits.

Shares rose more than 2%, with Seymour Pierce analyst Hugh-Guy Lorriman upgrading full-year profits forecasts by around 7% on the back of today’s figures.

He said: “These are excellent results showing profitability holding up well.”

The Restaurant Group owns 375 restaurants, including more than 50 concessions and 42 pub restaurants.

More in this Section

Goodbody to be sold to Bank of China in €150m dealGoodbody to be sold to Bank of China in €150m deal

As price growth slows, new fears haunt housing marketAs price growth slows, new fears haunt housing market

KBC Bank ‘committed’ to Ireland as top boss expresses impatience over tracker probeKBC Bank ‘committed’ to Ireland as top boss expresses impatience over tracker probe

Nimbus ‘Beyond IoT’ conference to expand to China and the USNimbus ‘Beyond IoT’ conference to expand to China and the US


I’d always promised myself a day off school when Gay Bryne died.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I’ve been thinking about my students, wondering who their ‘Gay Byrne’ will be

In an industry where women battle ageism and sexism, Meryl Streep has managed to decide her own destiny – and roles, writes Suzanne HarringtonJeepers Streepers: Hollywood royalty, all hail queen Meryl

'Ask Audrey' has been the newspaper's hysterical agony aunt “for ages, like”.Ask Audrey: Guten tag. Vot the f**k is the story with your cycle lanes?

Daphne Wright’s major new exhibition at the Crawford addresses such subjects as ageing and consumerism, writes Colette SheridanFinding inspiration in domestic situations

More From The Irish Examiner