TRG reveals ambitious plans for Coast to Coast restaurant brand, describes Olympics as 'unhelpful'

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Brand

The Restaurant Group opened the first Coast to Coast restaurant in Brighton last year but has plans to operate five by the end of 2012
The Restaurant Group opened the first Coast to Coast restaurant in Brighton last year but has plans to operate five by the end of 2012
Andrew Page, chief executive of The Restaurant Group, has revealed plans for the burgeoning Coast to Coast brand to reach five sites by the end of the year saying the performance of the adult-orientated American concept had been 'phenomenal' so far.

Speaking to BigHospitality as the 411-strong group of restaurants announced strong results despite the negative impact of the Olympics; Page explained he expected the brand to number five sites by the end of the year.

The former finance director claimed there were 'dozens' of locations the concept could thrive in, said it was showing good early potential and revealed there were plans to open at least another five sites in 2013.

Confident

The Restaurant Group (TRG) launched the Coast to Coast brand at Brighton Marina after two years of trialling aspects of the menu and back-of-house operation in the eight Filling Station restaurants the company operates north of the border.

A second venue opened in Newcastle's Newgate Street just one week ago but already Page is bullish about the aspirations for the concept.

"We are a moderately risk-averse management team when it comes to deploying huge slugs of our valuable capital. We are going to have five Coast to Coast sites open by the end of this year and we wouldn't be doing that unless we felt very confident about this."

The head of the London-based company revealed new openings were lined up in Stevenage, Solihull's Touchwood shopping centre and Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth.

Frankie & Benny's

Describing sales growth for the concept as 'phenomenal', Page said the most pleasing aspect for management was the small impact it was having on nearby Frankie & Benny's restaurants.

The strategy for choosing a location for the brand focuses on places where Frankie & Benny's or Chiquito are already successful.

The restaurants, which offer premium burgers and American specials at an average price point of £12, have separate management teams but often share logistics. However Page said the impact on sales on Frankie & Benny's in Brighton (directly next door to Coast to Coast) had been a drop of just 5-6 per cent.

Unhelpful

The company, which also operates Garfunkel's, Brunning & Price and several pub restaurants and concessions, today announced a jump in like-for-like sales of 3.25 per cent in the 26 weeks to 1 July. In total TRG expects to open 25-30 new sites across its brands this year.

"If you had asked me at the beginning of the year whether I would have been pleased with where we are year to date I would have grabbed it with both hands," Page told BigHospitality.

"The Olympics, on balance, were unhelpful for us. Certainly in central London it did not have the boost we were expecting or people expected. It was the opposite. Normal trading did resume afterwards."

Page, who said he expected the UK economy to be in low growth or none at all for the foreseeable future, suggested the performance of the group was due to promotions and limited use of voucher sites over deep discounting. Sales from voucher sites represent single-digit sales for the company.

He concluded by saying he remained confident about TRG's future: "This group is now 411 restaurants. I am very clear - I think we can double the size of this business in the medium term. Within the UK."

Related topics: Business, Restaurants, Venues

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