The Restaurant Group makes profit despite fall in sales

The Restaurant Group
08/03/2018 - 07:00
The Restaurant Group, whose casual dining brands include Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, Coast To Coast and new concept Firejacks, returned to profitability in 2017 despite a 4.4% fall in sales to £679m.

Pre-tax profits were £43.5m compared to a £49.3m loss the previous financial year. Earnings were helped because large one-off costs linked to ‘onerous leases and impairments’ in 2016 were not repeated.

Chief executive Andy McCue said he had expected his company’s sales to have been under pressure in 2017 due to the decision to cut menu prices at Frankie & Benny’s, its largest brand at 259 sites.

He added the company had also invested in a mobile app which would allow customers to order and pay on their devices, helping “remove customer pain points” and improve service.

“Customers want to order quickly and pay quickly too because people have less time and want to look for the convenient option,” he said. “We have to make the experience in our restaurants as slick as possible.”

One of the success stories for the group has been the emphasis on food deliveries, with 130 sites now on Deliveroo and trials under way with UberEats and Just Eat.

It has also begun trials of a gourmet burger concept with a menu that will only be available via delivery.

And the group has started to roll out ‘pay with app’ and ‘click and collect’ functionalities as well as integrating with Open Table as a booking partner.

The Restaurant Group will open about 10 concession sites this year and between five and 10 pubs at a cost of between £24m and £30m. It plans to open more in 2019.

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