Individual Restaurant Company, which owns Brindleyplace’s Bank, said its restaurants have performed well in the first quarter and overall trading is in line with expectations.

The company, which also operates the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill chains, said excluding the disposed Bank restaurant in Aldwych and the closed Zinc restaurant in Birmingham, sales had risen by 23 per cent, mainly driven by the impact of the six new site openings during 2007 – four Piccolino restaurants, and two Restaurant Bar and Grills.

In a statement released ahead of its annual general meeting yesterday, the group said: "The group’s restaurants have performed well for the four months ended April 27 and trading overall is in line with expectations.

"Given the challenging consumer environment this demonstrates the ongoing appeal of both the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands."

The company added that its target of seven new restaurant openings for the current year remained on track.

"Two Piccolino restaurants are currently in build with the site in Birmingham due to open on May 23 and York just before the half year-end.

"We have secured a site in Bristol which will open in the second half of the year as a Piccolino and the future site pipeline remains strong," it said.

The company, which has a national portfolio of 28 sites, added that after the significant changes of last year, the beginning of the current year had been a relatively stable period.

"The directors are pleased to report the continued trading success since the last update in March," added the statement.

The four new Piccolino restaurants are in Sheffield, West Didsbury, Ilkley and Exchange Square, while the two Restaurant Bar & Grills are in Liverpool and Tunbridge Wells.