Ask Central has reported a 51% leap in annual pre-tax profits to £10.4m on turnover up 49% to £61.1m.

The 107-strong restaurant chain opened 25 restaurants during the year, including eight Zizzi's which use wood-fired pizza ovens.

The company said expansion had been largely funded from its own resources and the low level of borrowing was virtually unchanged.

Another five restaurants are under construction and it anticipates a further growth during the year. Two of the three newly opened restaurants are in the Zizzi style.

The move to a new head office in St Albans, Hertfordshire, above one of its Zizzi restaurants, had improved working efficiency and provided ample space to cope with further growth, the company said.

Training facilities had been further expanded and were producing excellent candidates for new management positions.

Trading in the current year had improved year-on-year.

Andrew Fleet, 37, has been appointed a non-executive director.