Pieminister achieved a 13% increase in like-for-like (lfl) sales within its restaurant estate, during the full year to 31 March 2018, with growth continuing to grow in the first half of 2017/18.

Total sales increased by 14% to £14.3m, for the manufacturer and operator, with 23% growth in sales seen across its restaurant and franchise channels over the period. During the first half of the 208/19 financial year sales have grown 17% compared to the same period last year.

The company said it had “stepped up its commitment to investment and innovation across all areas of the business, from its restaurants and franchises to its production and product range”.

It also saw a 500% increase in the number of free-from pies it produced, following increased demand for gluten-free and vegan alternatives. In addition its restaurants added ‘loaded fries’ and a range of dairy and vegan soft service ice cream ‘pies’ to its menu.

It opened two new restaurants during the year to March, in Liverpool and Sheffield. Its franchise concept is now in over 50 pubs and 24 leisure venues and is an increasing area of focus in terms of investment.

Pieminister co-founder and MD, Jon Simon, said: “Our unique business model is proving a real strength in these uncertain times: our restaurants act as a test-bed for product innovation which, together with our franchised operations and ongoing presence at music festivals and weddings introduces the brand to new people.

“As a result the many retailers which stock our pies, including the UK’s leading supermarkets, see the benefit of these new and engaged consumers. In turn these revenues allow us to open more restaurants, resulting in impressive growth across our entire business. And so our virtuous pie circle keeps turning.”