Gourmet Burger Kitchen sales recover after store closures


The embattled Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has seen sales recover rapidly in the early part of this year as it emerged from a dramatic restructuring plan, the brand’s parent company said.

The burger restaurant’s South African owner, Famous Brands, said on Wednesday that like-for-like sales in the last 12 weeks have risen 8.1%, well ahead of the wider market.

This followed a dip of 4.2% in the 52 weeks to February 24, marking an improvement on the 6.8% decline recorded in the previous year.

But losses before non-operational items widened to £4.6 million.

First-half sales were down 9.7%, but this was partly offset by a 1.4% rise in the latter part of the year as the group executed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to close 17 restaurants.

It was one of several chains forced to shutter locations amid a casual dining crisis last year, with fellow burger outlet Byron among those affected.

Tough conditions have continued into 2019, pushing celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant business into administration last week.

Including restaurants closed prior to the CVA, GBK’s estate was reduced by 24 sites to 80 during the period.

The estate was also revamped with new additions to the menu, fresh branding and the option for table service at every restaurant.

Meanwhile, classic burger chain Wimpy, for which Famous Brands owns the UK franchise, also closed stores during the period as part of a consolidation process. The brand now has 67 UK sites after closing 12.

It recorded like-for-like sales growth of 5.5%, while operating profit increased 16% to 18 million rand (£960,000).