04/11/2012 14:26 GMT | Updated 05/11/2012 08:27 GMT

Nandos: Peri-Peri Profits Increase At Chicken Restaurant Loved By David Beckham

Nando's enjoyed a leap in profits last year as the peri-peri chicken restaurant avoided the impact of the economic downturn.

The chain, which counts David Beckham, Pixie Lott and Ricky Gervais among its celebrity fans, saw profits jump £31.5 million to £52.9m on turnover of £374m in the year to February, the Mail on Sunday said.

The number of stores increased from 241 to 260 as its directors put the strong financial performance down to better efficiencies and lower interest rates.

Owner Capricorn Ventures, which also owns the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the Real Greek restaurant chains, took a £27.8m dividend.

The company, which employs 8,125 staff, said it was continuing its mystery-shopper scheme to keep its restaurants up to standard.

Nando's, recognised by its distinctive rooster logo, was founded in 1987 by Robert Brozin and Fernando Duarte, when they bought a restaurant called Chickenland in Johannesburg. The business has always been owned through the Capricorn family trust.

The company opened its first British restaurant in Ealing, west London, in 1992 and now serves almost one million customers a week.