Posted by Sam Fenny - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 3 May 2023

Owner of Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquitos will SHUT 23 venues by the end of May after announcing plans to close 35 of its loss-making restaurants

The owner of Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquitos will shut 23 venues by the end of the month.

The Restaurant Group, which currently runs 410 venues, said it plans to sped up the closure process after previously announcing it would shut 35 of its loss-making casual dining restaurants.

Shares in the company jumped this morning after it hailed ‘good progress’ on recent cost-cutting efforts.

In its latest update, the hospitality firm said it expected to save £5million a year due to moves to slash costs.

‘The combination of current trading and incremental cost savings achieved provides confidence that TRG is tracking ahead of management expectations on its medium-term margin accretion and deleveraging plans,’ the firm said in a statement.

TRG revealed that like-for-like sales grew by 2 per cent at Wagamama over the first quarter of 2023, with a 5 per cent rise for its pub arm and 37 per cent growth across its concessions, amid a recovery in airport passenger numbers.

Meanwhile, Wagamama sales grew 9 per cent over the four weeks to April 30, while the sales decline at its leisure sites slowed to 1 per cent.

The group added that ‘favourable’ property market conditions are creating further opportunities for new Wagamama restaurants on good rent terms.

TRG plans to accelerate its opening plans for the pan-Asian chain, with up to eight sites due to open next year, from previous plans for five sites.

Analysts at Barclays said: ‘The statement is strong across the board, with trading holding up well despite consumer spending headwinds.’

It comes amid continued pressure from activist investor Oasis Management, which owns a 12.3 per cent stake in the group, to improve profits for investors.

Yesterday, it was revealed more than than 12 hospitality venues have shut each day in Britain over the past year as they struggle with higher costs such as soaring energy prices, according to figures.

High inflation and the cost-of-living crisis have resulted in the closure of 4,593 licensed hospitality premises over the year to March, according to the latest hospitality market monitor from industry experts at the consultancies CGA By NIQ and AlixPartners.

Nevertheless, the latest figures indicated a slight slowdown in closures in recent months amid stronger than expected consumer spending.

The new data showed that the number of hospitality venues has decreased by 4.3 per cent since March 2022, representing 12.6 closures each day.

Restaurants suffered a particularly damaging year, with the number of licensed restaurants shrinking by 7.8 per cent over the year.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the industry body UKHospitality, said the figures ‘sadly’ came as ‘no surprise’.

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