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.
Leisure 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.