Owner of Wagamama, Chiquito and Frankie and Benny’s to close 90 restaurants

Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group has confirmed plans to close 90 restaurant sites by the end of 2021 under latest transformation plans.

The company – which also owns Wagamama – said the closures will impact sites across the UK, including the Chiquito brand.

It shut 18 restaurants in 2019, converting a number of outlets into its profit-driving Wagamama business instead.

The closure comes amid a tough period for casual dining chains, with rivals such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen closing branches over the past year.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, famously closed 22 of his restaurants with the loss of 1,000 jobs in 2019, after years of falling profits.

The chef blamed Brexit for the closure of six of his branches. He said poor trading conditions, rising food and staffing costs, and a weakening pound.

Andy Hornby, chief executive officer of The Restaurant Group, said: "Having joined the business in August last year I am particularly pleased with the continued and significant progress made following the acquisition of Wagamama and the integration of the business into the Group, which has transformed the Group's growth trajectory and momentum.


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"Our three growth businesses of Wagamama, Concessions and Pubs are all out-performing their respective markets and have clear potential for further growth.  I am also acutely aware of the challenges facing our Leisure business and the wider casual dining sector."

Wagamama – which continues to drive growth in the business – saw sales jump 8.5% for the company last year.

Hornby said the business now plans to expand its network as well as its pubs arm over the next 12 months.

This will include a £45million investment into four new Brunning & Price pubs, eight new airport branches, including six sites at Manchester's new airport terminal, four new Wagamama branches in the UK and six leisure site conversions to Wagamama.


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"We have made an encouraging start to the new financial year with like-for-like sales up 5.3% for the first six weeks of 2020."

The group, which has 650 sites in total, slipped to a pre-tax loss of £37.3million last year, as it was weighed down by its unprofitable leisure restaurants.

Last year several casual dining brands overhauled their businesses, with some closing sites, amid rising costs and tougher competition in the sector.

Prezzo, Jamie's Italian, Byron, Carluccio's, Gaucho and Gourmet Burger Kitchen all shuttered restaurants.

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