The owner of restaurant brands Frankie & Benny’s, Wagamama and Chiquito has announced plans to close up to 90 restaurant sites by the end of next year.
The Restaurant Group (TRG) said the closure plan comes amid a tough period for casual dining chains, which has seen rival brands - including Jamie’s Italian - collapse in the last 12 months.
The dining firm said the closures will impact sites across its leisure portfolio. It already exited 18 locations in 2019.
At least 31 of TRG’s leisure sites will not see their contract renewed, with this number potentially rising depending on discussions with landlords.
The group added that it also expects to dispose of up to 35 additional sites, and plans to sell another 12 freehold sites. Furthermore, it announced plans to convert up to 12 current leisure restaurants into its more profitable Wagamama brand.
Restaurant cuts by 2021
The plan to close up to 90 of its restaurants will see TRG’s leisure portfolio reduced to between 260 and 275 sites by the end of 2021, down from 350.
The group confirmed the closure plans after it reported like-for-like sales growth of 2.7 per cent for the year to December.
TRG saw total sales soar by 56.4 per cent to £1.07 billion after being buoyed by its £559 million acquisition of Wagamama in October 2018.
Wagamama continues to drive growth in the business, with the pan-Asian brand reporting an 8.5 per cent increase in like-for-like sales over the same period.
The group, which has 650 sites in total, slipped to a pre-tax loss of £37.3 million for the year, from a £13.9 million loss in 2018, as it was weighed down by its unprofitable leisure restaurants.
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."