May 1, 2014 2:00 am JST

Royal Holdings' January-March pretax profit up 20%

TOKYO -- Royal Holdings Co. is expected to report a 20% year-on-year gain in pretax profit for the three months ended March 31 thanks in part to price hikes at its restaurants.

     Pretax profit apparently topped 700 million yen ($6.7 million). The strong performance is partly attributed to a 5% increase in sales per customer after the company raised prices for some dishes at its Royal Host family restaurants last year.

     Sales likely grew 4% to around 29 billion yen. The group's restaurants were busy in March as good weather prompted many people to go out to view cherry blossoms. The Tenya tempura chain logged a 10% sales increase because of the popularity of a once-a-month discount, which mainly drew seniors.

     The occupancy rate was almost 90% at the group's Richmond Hotel properties. The hotels were used by the many people stuck in cities in February due to heavy snowfall.

     For the current fiscal year through Dec. 31, Royal Holdings plans to launch new restaurants primarily under the popular Tenya brand. And it will focus on renovating existing Royal Host locations.