Restaurant group back in from the cold

The owner of Chiquito and Frankie & Benny's has bounced back from a poor weather-hit December to upgrade its full-year profit expectations.

The Restaurant Group, which also owns Garfunkel's, said like-for-like sales in the 53-weeks to January 2 dropped by one per cent after freezing temperatures and snowfall prevented customers from eating at its restaurants in the final quarter.

Analysts said this meant the snow cost the chain an estimated 5m-6m in sales.

Despite the disruption the company expects to deliver full-year profits ahead of the current market consensus of 55.4m for the 2010/11 financial year.

The group, which runs most of its 380 restaurants from leisure parks, partly relies on the performance of cinemas nearby as movie-goers sit down for a meal before watching the film.

Last week, Cineworld warned the adverse weather had a negative impact on box office and retail revenues.