Giraffe, the Risk Capital Partners-backed restaurant chain, has announced that turnover increased by £4.9m to £34.4m in the year to 27 March 2011, driven by new openings and that it had the bank facilities available for further expansion and acquisitions. The 44-strong company said that its operations were strongly cash generative and that Ebitda before exceptional items increased to £3.3m during the year. The group, which is led by Russel and Juliette Joffe, added six sites to its estate during the 12 months in Blackheath, Soho, Horsham, Aberdeen, Bath and Solihull. The company, which also opened a franchise unit at Gatwick Airport, will open new sites this autumn in Stratford, Chelmsford and Sheffield Meadowhall. It is thought that the increase in turnover was also driven by a full year’s performance from the clutch of Tootsies sites the group acquired in October 2009 for £2.5m, a deal described as “transformational” for the chain. Speculation at the end of last year suggested that Risk was looking at exiting from the chain, but it is thought that a sale of the business is not imminent. Luke Johnson, chairman, said: “This is another impressive performance from the Giraffe management team, following the successful execution of the Tootsies acquisition last year. Expansion has been through both acquisition of sites and through the opening of two further sites in new regions for the business, in Scotland and in Birmingham, as well as a site in Bath in April. There are still many areas of the country that Giraffe plans to serve over the coming years. We believe the brand has extremely strong appeal thanks to engaging service and a good value menu.” Russel Joffe, Managing Director said: “These results show a resilient performance in a challenging year for the casual dining market. We have expanded successfully in new areas of the UK and with 44 sites and three new sites to be opened in the autumn we are fast approaching 50 UK sites. We are continuing to attract the very best industry talent to support and underpin our expansion.” Giraffe is currently repositioning its estate with the launch of a number of brand extensions. It is to replace its Guerilla Burgers brand, with a Giraffe Burgers format, and is also set to launch a new transport hub concept, Giraffe Stop in early 2012. The development of Giraffe Stop and Giraffe Burgers follows the launch earlier this month of Giraffe Café, the group’s new café format aimed at revitalising its neighbourhood restaurants. The first site under the brand opened in Hampstead. The three new concepts will take the company’s brand portfolio up to five, including the original Giraffe format and Giraffe Bar & Grill, which was launched in Soho earlier this year. The group, which is looking to open a further 10 sites under its new brands next year, has already secured a unit for 2013 at the £350m Trinity Leeds retail scheme.