Rescue deal agreed for Gourmet Burger Kitchen restaurant chain

Hundreds of jobs have been saved after a rescue deal for Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) was agreed, but a number of restaurants not part of the sale will close.

The burger chain has been saved as a going concern in a rescue deal funded by the Boparan Restaurant Group which owns casual dining brands such as Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner.

The acquisition includes a portfolio of 35 restaurants and safeguards 669 jobs. However, there will be 27 branches that will close and 362 redundancies.

GBK had been operating on a reduced basis following the Covid-19 lockdown. The hospitality industry had to shut sites in March and was only able to start reopening from July, with social distancing measures in place.

Disruption from the pandemic impacted the business’ liquidity, driving the need to find a funding or sale solution, according to Deloitte, which advised on the sale of GBK. GBK was previously owned by South Africa-based Famous Brands.

Deloitte said that given the financial position of the business, it has been necessary for the sale to be facilitated by way of a ‘pre-pack’ administration.

Gavin Maher and Rob Harding, restructuring partners at Deloitte, were appointed joint administrators to the main entities in the group.

Maher said: “We have been working closely with the management team under very difficult market conditions to try and find a funding solution and I am glad to be able to announce the rescue of this well-loved brand together with a large proportion of the sites and workforce. However, it’s clearly disappointing that a number of sites have had to close resulting in today’s redundancies.”

Satnam Leihal, managing director of Boparan Restaurant Group said: “Whilst it is an extremely challenging time for the sector, we believe quality hospitality businesses will recover in the long term as people return to eating out.”

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