Chain confirms 33 restaurants will close

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THE struggling owner of Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s announced that it is shutting 33 under-performing sites as part of a strategic review.

The Restaurant Group booked pre-tax losses of £22.5m for the first half of the year as it took a hit from a £59.1m exceptional charge linked to the store closures and writedowns.

The store closures will affect up to 1,000 jobs.

Like-for-like sales fell 3.9 per cent as the group, which has issued a string of profit warnings, flagged a ‘challenging trading period’.

Chairman Debbie Hewitt said: ‘The brand remains relevant and popular and we’re confident that improved performance will be achieved by being more customer-focused and data-driven, and through better operational execution.’

The Restaurant Group said ‘significant price increases’ had hit hard and it pledged to look at pricing in a bid to attract more families to its outlets.

The next phase of the review will look at stablemates Chiquito, Coast To Coast, Joe’s Kitchen and Garfunkel’s.

A spokesman for the firm confirmed restaurants in Gunwharf Quays and at Whiteley Shopping Centre were not on the ‘at risk’ list.