Fulham Shore, the Franco Manca and Real Greek operator, has announced that headline EBITDA for the year – although in growth - is likely to be below market expectations.

However, it stressed that turnover for the year ending 25 March would be broadly as expected. The group said the situation had arisen primarily due to trade in its suburban London restaurants which, whilst they are still busy, are serving fewer customers than last year with higher operating costs.

The group also said that in response to “an uncertain economic outlook for the UK” it would reduce the number of new openings for the current financial year, targeting “those locations that we believe will give us above average returns and sensible property deals”.

The group opened 13 new restaurants in the financial year to 25 March, taking the number of restaurants operating at the year end to 41 Franco Manca pizzerias in the UK, one Franco Manca pizzeria franchised in Italy and 16 The Real Greek restaurants. It is currently building a new Franco Manca pizzeria in Bath and has exchanged contracts on a site for later in the year on South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh.

In a statement, the group said: “We continue to offer freshly prepared food at great prices which, we feel, has led to our continuing profitability. All of our cash generated is reinvested back into the business. With this policy we keep our prices low and create jobs in new restaurants. Many of our employees are shareholders, creating a ‘super family’ of investors. In addition, our restaurant sites have been chosen with care and we have avoided property leases with excess space or particularly high rents.

“This affordable menu position is where we believe we should be placed within the restaurant sector. We believe that this, along with a prudent opening plan, puts us in a good position when the UK economic environment improves.”