UK restaurant group plans equipment bonanza

The Restaurant Group, operator of chains such as Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s and Brunning & Price, plans to open as many as 30 new restaurants this year, its chief executive has revealed.

In a move that is likely to lead to a significant amount of kitchen equipment spend, The Restaurant Group confirmed it aims to add further outlets to its already 400-strong portfolio.

It recently arranged a five-year, £140m revolving credit facility and this will be partly used to accelerate the roll-out once economic conditions improve and new property development activity restarts.

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“Last year we opened 25 new restaurants, creating more than 500 new jobs. These new openings are trading ahead of our expectations and this year we expect to open 25 to 30 new restaurants throughout the UK which should create around 600 new jobs,” explained Andrew Page, CEO of The Restaurant Group Plc.

News of the planned expansion comes as the group said its annual sales for 2011 increased by strong single digit figures, while profits are expected to be in line with market forecasts when the results are announced in March.

“We faced challenging trading conditions in 2011 but, despite this, revenues were up by 7.25% and like-for-like sales were 3.25% higher. Our profits for 2011 were well ahead of those for the previous year and cash flow was also very strong,” said Page.

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