The Restaurant Group expected to put flagship Chiquito on the market

The Restaurant Group – which owns Frankie and Benny’s and Coast to Coast – is in discussions with property agents to put its two-storey flagship Chiquito in London’s West End on the market.

Chiquito_500x500_thumbLeisure property agent Shelley Sandzer is understood to have been approached by the group to sell the Leicester Square site, which opened a decade ago, but it said it was unable to comment at this time.

Chiquito offers a menu of Mexican food including fajitas, tortillas, quesadillas, tacos and burritos.

In August 2016 the Restaurant Group announced the closure of 33 sites after reviewing its strategy following a period of poor sales. It outlined aims to re-establish the competitiveness of its leisure brands by reviewing, price, food quality, marketing, kick-starting new initiatives, growing its pub and concessions business, and building a “leaner, faster and more focused organisation”.

Five months later it put another 23 of its sites up for sale after blaming “underperformance across our leisure brands” for a sharp dip in like-for-like sales. The sites were a mix of Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito, Joe’s Kitchen, Coast to Coast, Garfunkel’s and Filling Station restaurants.

March 2017 saw a further six Frankie & Benny’s and Coast to Coast sites put on the market.

In the company’s latest trading update (which is due to be updated on Wednesday) it reported a 3% drop in like-for-like sales and a 4.4% decrease in turnover for the 52 weeks ending 31 December 2017.

In the financial report, Andy McCue, chief executive of the Restaurant Group said: “In 2017 we made solid progress against our strategic initiatives, resulting in improved volume momentum in our leisure business, a lower cost base and a more focused growth plan. While the market has softened, we continue to benefit from strong cash generation and a healthy balance sheet.”

The Restaurant Group was unavailable to comment at the time of posting.

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