New jobs bonanza in Restaurant expansion

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AROUND 600 jobs are expected to be created by the owner of Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito restaurants as part of its expansion plans.

The Restaurant Group, which has 400 outlets, said the 25 sites it opened in 2011 under a £29m investment programme were producing returns ahead of target.

It intends to open between 25 and 30 restaurants in 2012, creating 600 jobs in the process, as the chain continues to defy the tough trading conditions.

A spokesman for the Restaurant Group said the company could not give the exact locations for the new restaurants, but added: “You can be sure some of them will be in your (Yorkshire) area.”

Revenues grew by more than seven per cent to £487.1m and pre-tax profits were up 11.7 per cent to £60.3m last year because many of its sites are located at out-of-town retail parks, where footfall has been resilient.

And many of its 200-plus Frankie & Benny's outlets are situated near cinemas, with movies continuing to be seen as an affordable treat even in tough times.

Restaurant Group, which also runs the Garfunkel’s brand, said sales were up three per cent so far in 2012, although the figure was two per cent lower on a like-for-like basis.

Chairman Alan Jackson said: “We have a superb business with distinct market positions and strong brands with outstanding value-for-money offerings.”

The company saw average increases in food and beverage costs of over 3 per cent last year, while wage inflation was higher than in 2010, mainly due to an increase in the minimum wage from October 2010.