The Restaurant Group confirmed this morning that it intends to close up to 90 restaurants by the end of 2021.
The company had been tipped to scale back its portfolio after tough market conditions bit hard on its leisure brands, which include Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito.
The firm shut leisure 18 sites last year and had previously revealed plans to exit dozens of “structurally unattractive” locations when leases expire.
Bosses said the market place remained “challenging” for its leisure business with “chronic overcapacity” in the sector and significant cost pressures particularly due to labour costs.
They now plan to accelerate the reduction of the estate, taking it from 350 sites at present down to between 260 and 275 sites by end of 2021.
Between seven and 12 sites will be converted to Wagamama over the next two years, while at least 31 sites will be exited at break or expiry, with this number potentially increasing if landlord negotiations to reduce rents and increase lease flexibility are not successful.
12 freeholds will be sold where the EBITDA multiple delivers the required shareholder return, while up to be 35 sites are likely to be marketed for sale and disposed.
The company stated: “Alongside our estate management activity we are focused on initiatives to improve the food offering and brand proposition as well as optimising the delivery opportunity for our leisure business.”
Financial results published by The Restaurant Group show that overall like-for-like sales rise almost 3% to £1.07 billion last year.
The company recorded an adjusted profit before tax of £74.5m, but a statutory loss before tax of £37.3m.