UK pizza and pasta restaurant chain ASK Central posted interim pre-tax profits up 32% to £5.91m (US$8.68m) in the six months ended 1 July. Turnover climbed 28% to £36.2m.

Strong organic growth and new openings drove the strong performance. The AIM-listed operation opened nine new restaurants during the period under review, to boost its total portfolio to 112. CEO Adam Kaye said he expected to open a total of 25 restaurants in the current year, with 30 new openings already slated for next year.

The average new restaurant cost just under £500,000 to set up, this money coming from cash flow, reported the Financial Times.

The group also operates restaurants under the Zizzi brand; indeed most of the new restaurants were under the Zizzi brand rather than the ASK brand. While both brands are based on pizzas, they offer distinct dining experiences by virtue of their different décor and menus.