‘Chicken king’ Boparan swallows burger chain GBK
Written by Rother Radio News on 14/10/2020
The poultry tycoon who rescued Carluccio’s earlier this year is to swallow another of Britain’s leading restaurant chains by taking control of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK).
Sky News has learnt that Ranjit Boparan, who has built one of the country’s largest casual dining groups through a string of takeovers, is to buy GBK through a pre-pack administration.
The deal is expected to take place later this week, and potentially as soon as Wednesday.
It is expected to save roughly 650 jobs and 35 of GBK’s restaurants, meaning that dozens more are likely to close permanently with the loss of several hundred jobs.
Boparan Restaurants is understood to have seen off competition from the new owners of GBK’s rival burger chain, Byron, to clinch a deal.
The transaction will be the latest in a swathe of deals which have reshaped Britain’s casual dining industry since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
GBK’s current owner, South Africa-based Famous Brands, had indicated that it would not provide further funding to support the UK operation, which before the pandemic operated from 62 outlets and employed nearly 1300 people.
The chain underwent a financial restructuring in 2018 in the form of a company voluntary arrangement which resulted in the closure of dozens of restaurants.
Hospitality chiefs have warned that a second nationwide lockdown would trigger hundreds of thousands of job losses across the industry, with regional restrictions already exacerbating the crisis facing pub operators and other leisure groups.
Few restaurant chains have been able to weather the COVID-19 period without some form of restructuring, with companies including Burger King, the owner of Wagamama, Prezzo and Casual Dining Group all resorting to insolvency processes, auctions or emergency fundraisings.
Wahaca, the chain co-founded by former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, recently completed a company voluntary arrangement to put it on a sounder financial footing.
Deloitte is handling the GBK pre-pack administration.
Mr Boparan also owns the Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner and Fishworks chains.
None of the parties involved would comment on Wednesday morning.
© Sky News 2020