Future of Gourmet Burger Kitchen in doubt after owner pulls cash support

The future of Gourmet Burger Kitchen has been thrown into doubt after the dining chain’s owner said it was pulling the plug on its financial support.

The chain’s 62 restaurants face uncertainty after Famous Brands, its South African owner, said it would “withhold financial support” from the UK firm.

It comes after the troubled burger chain was forced to shut its restaurants in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government-mandated shut-down of restaurants has already been blamed for accelerating the tumble of Italian chain Carluccio’s into administration earlier this week.

Famous Brands said Gourmet Burger Kitchen had seen a deterioration in sales during March, ahead of the enforced closures.

It said it has now “reviewed its investment” in the business in light of the shut-down, as the “uncertainty regarding resumption of trading was cause for concern”.

The company said: “The board has taken the decision to not provide any further financial assistance to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen business.

“Accordingly, the board of Gourmet Burger Kitchen will consider the options available to the business.”

A Carluccio’s restaurant
Italian chain Carluccio’s went into administration earlier this week (Tim Goode/PA)

Gourmet Burger Kitchen could undergo a major restructuring for the second time in two years, having completed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) deal in 2018.

The dining business closed 24 sites with the loss of around 250 jobs through the CVA.

Famous Brands, which also owns the Wimpy franchise in the UK, bought the burger chain in 2016 in a deal reported to be worth around £120 million.

In January, rival chain Handmade Burger Co collapsed, with the immediate closure of its 18 sites and loss of all 283 jobs.

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