Frankie & Benny's fillip in hard times

Money may be scarce for most families at the moment but that has not seemed to stop them dining out at mid-priced eateries like Frankie & Benny's.

The Restaurant Group, which owns the 1950s-style chain, said customers defied the economic malaise by visiting its outlets last year instead of just staying at home.

It said turnover was up by 9 per cent, meaning its full-year profits are likely to be ahead of the £64m forecast by analysts when it reports in March. Like-for-like sales at its restaurants rose 4.5 per cent.