Restaurant Group has openings on menu

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The owner of restaurant chains Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s expects to open up to 50 new outlets this year after posting record annual profits.

The Restaurant Group, which operates over 470 restaurants and pubs, said pre-tax profits lifted 7.4 per cent to £78.1m in the year to December 28 after opening 40 new restaurants and creating 1,300 jobs.

The business, which also includes Chiquito and Coast to Coast, grew sales 10 per cent to £635m as it added a new chicken section at its Frankie & Benny’s outlets.

It said that the new year had started well, with like-for-like sales up 2.5 per cent in the eight weeks to February 22.

The firm is upbeat about prospects for this year as wages have outstripped inflation for the first time in a number of years, giving consumers more disposable income.

The FTSE 250 group added that with around half of its sites in leisure parks it stands to benefit from a much stronger cinema film release schedule than has been the case in the last two years.

Chief executive Danny Breithaupt took over last September following the retirement of former boss Andrew Page.

Mr Breithaupt said: “We have continued the acceleration of our opening programme with 40 great new restaurants and pubs opened in the year, and a further increase expected in 2015.”