THE restaurant group behind the Di Maggio’s and Café Andaluz chains has highlighted its focus on city-centre locations, while unveiling a dip in turnover but a rise in operating profits.

The DRG, which also has the Anchor Line and Atlantic restaurants in Glasgow’s St Vincent Place in its 22-strong portfolio, unveiled a rise in underlying operating profits to £4.21 million in the year to April 28, 2019, from £3.895m in the prior 12 months. The business, which is owned by Mario Gizzi and Tony Conetta, had made an operating profit of £5.65m in the year to April 2017.

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Co-founder Mr Gizzi said: “We anticipated the increased importance of city-centre, metropolitan restaurants several years ago and our main focus going forward will be on major conurbations which can offer us significant footfall.”

The DRG’s turnover dipped to £36.48m in the year to last April, from £36.83m in the prior 12 months. However, the latest full-year turnover figure is higher than the £34.86m achieved in the year to April 2017.

The latest accounts show a rise in pre-tax profits to £4.81m in the year to April 28, from £3.65m in the prior 12 months. Much of this jump reflected an exceptional profit of £872,298 on disposal of tangible fixed assets.

The company says in its accounts: “On…10 November 2018 one of the restaurants was destroyed by a fire. The profit on disposal arose as a result of the reinstatement insurance claim on these assets.”

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A spokesman for The DRG noted this related to Amarone in Aberdeen, which reopened in November 2019.

Asked whether there would be any prospect of the business scaling back operations in secondary locations, given the focus on city-centre sites, the spokesman noted the closure by The DRG of Di Maggio’s restaurants in Hamilton, in March 2019, and in Airdrie, in September 2018.

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He added that there was “nothing else planned in that regard”.

The spokesman noted the fall in turnover during the year to April 2019 had arisen from the Aberdeen fire and the closure of the Hamilton and Airdrie restaurants.

Asked if there were plans to open further restaurants in the near future, he replied: “Nothing specific to talk about at the moment, but always working on new opportunities.”

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On whether turnover and profits were projected to rise in the current financial year, the spokesman said the business was “trading well, in line with expectations”.

Employee numbers in the year to April 2019 averaged 862, down by 14 on the prior 12 months.