Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito closing: Up to 90 sites to close across the UK by 2021

Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito are owned by The Restaurant Group, who today announced they aime to close up to 90 restaurants by the end of next year. This follows on from 18 site closures from the two brands in 2019.

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The Restaurant Group said at a minimum, 31 of its leisure sites will not have their contract renewed.

This number could rise depending on discussions with landlords.

It added it expects to dispose of up to 35 further sites, and sell another 12 freehold sites.

Adding further to these numbers will be the conversion of 12 current restaurants in to the more profitable Wagamama brand.

Which restaurants will close?

The Restaurant Group has not yet announced the locations of the outlets that are to close.

TRG confirmed the closure plans at the same time it reported like-for-like sales growth of 2.7 per cent for the year to December.

Total sales soared a massive 56.4 percent to £1.07billion. This was thanks to the £559million purchase of Wagamama in October 2018.

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Wagamama continues to drive growth in the business, with the chain reporting a 8.5 percent increase in like-for-like sales over the period.

Andy Hornby, chief executive officer of TRG, said: “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.

“Following an extensive review we have defined three clear strategic priorities for the next two years: Grow our Wagamama, concessions and pubs businesses; rationalise our leisure business; and accelerate our deleveraging profile.”

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Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito are the latest in a long line of closures on the UK high street.

Consumers spending less money in general has hit casual dining restaurants particularly hard.

Jamie’s Italian, founded by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, collapsed in May 2019.

The chain had run up debts of £71.5million and administrators closed 22 of its 25 sites.

Celebrity-owned restaurants aren’t the only ones to be hit, with a low-key burger chain collapsing this year.

Handmade Burger Co has collapsed for the second time, with Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery appointed joint administrators.

The popular chain got to 29 restaurants in the UK, before closing nine of them in 2017.

283 people are set to lose their jobs. Joint administrator David Griffiths said: “The casual dining market in the UK has experienced significant challenges over the last four years, largely as a result of overcapacity in the sector, which has resulted in a significant number of insolvencies.

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