‘Rejuvenated’ Chiquito targets 8 to 10 store openings


Chiquito, the Mexican grill and restaurant chain, is ramping up its market presence by opening between eight and 10 new sites this year, its parent company said.

The Restaurant Group (TRG), which owns the business, said the rejuvenation of the brand, which started two years ago, has “continued apace” after a strong first half of the year. For the six months to the end of June, Chiquito recorded stronger sales and profit growth than any of its other brands.

“We opened one new Chiquito during the first half, have opened three subsequently and expect to open a total of 8 to 10 in the full year,” said TRG chairman Alan Jackson. “We are extremely pleased with the performance of recent openings, all of which are set to deliver strong returns.”

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Jackson added that major recent areas of focus include the development of the breakfast, dessert and cocktail offerings, all of which are contributing to strong sales growth. Chiquito currently operates 79 stores.

“We are confident that Chiquito will become an increasingly important part of TRG’s success going forward and that it will further strengthen its position as a market leader in its sector,” he said.

News of Chiquito’s progress came as TRG reported that group-wide revenues rose 8% to £334m during the first half of the year. Pre-tax profits increased 10% to £37m in the process.

In total, TRG said that it had overseen 12 new restaurant openings in the first half, with a further nine launched in the second half so far. Between 43 and 48 new sites are expected for 2015.

Giving a breakdown of its key brands, the group said that Frankie & Benny’s had “traded well” during the first half with good sales and profits growth, while Coast to Coast delivered a “strong” financial performance.

During the first six months of the year, TRG opened four new Frankie & Benny’s restaurants, with a further two openings since the end of June. It plans to open between 13 and 15 new Frankie & Benny’s restaurants in the full year.

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Andrew Seymour

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