International restaurant chain Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) — which runs over 60 outlets in the UK and five in Ireland — has been acquired from its South African owner in a 'pre-pack' rescue deal.
The UK-based Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) has taken over GBK, saying the deal will save 35 restaurants and 669 jobs. However, more than 360 people will be made redundant with 26 outlets due to close.
South Africa’s Famous Brands said GBK had entered administration after becoming the latest victim of brutal trading conditions in the face of Covid-19.
Famous Brands bought GBK in 2016 but its contribution to group profitability has taken longer than the company had expected, hampered by pressure on consumer spending as well as UK high property rates, increased input costs, and a highly competitive restaurant market.
Famous Brands said in April that it would not provide further financial support for GBK because of uncertainty over when restaurants would reopen after the UK coronavirus lockdown imposed the previous month.
GBK had reopened 37 of its 62 UK stores for full service by August 13 and one of its five stores in Ireland.
In May, BRG, which also owns the Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner brands in the UK, rescued the Anglo-Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s, buying 30 of its British sites, although 40 others were closed.