Regent Inns still believes it can triple the size of the Old Orleans restaurant brand it acquired from Punch last year to around 100 sites - despite admitting it is around six months behind on refurbishment work.
The company bought the chain in September last year but has been delayed in refurbishing sites because landlords have been slow to agree to assignment of leases.
Regent has now obtained assignments from all but one site landlord and has refurbished the first 10 venues. Another 10 are expected to be complete by the end of June 2008, with the remainder done by Christmas 2008.
An average of £250,000 is being invested in each site, although the figure is skewed by much larger investments in two key sites - the paddle steamer at Thurrock's Lakeside shopping centre and a sizeable site in Epping Forest.
Sales at the two mega-sites are up by just over 50% with other sites showing sales rises of between 20% and 30%.
A complete re-jig of the offer has seen 45% of Old Orleans managers move on, the company revealed. An Old Orleans site in Cambridge is understood to have been surrendered. Regent executive chairman Bob Ivell said: "There's no reason why we can't open 100 Old Orleans sites - we're just about to sign for a site in Leicester."
The company has appointed an acquisitions manager to help with the rollout of the brand. Regent said it was too early to decide whether the returns from its Asha Indian restaurant justified a rollout.
Ivell said: "Sales are growing month by month. But it's still too early, although there's great feedback from customers."