Hopes High For Gourmet Burger Kitchen Survival
Chiswick branch may not be on closure list recently announced by company
Fears that Chiswick may be losing yet another restaurant have been raised by an announcement this week that Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has earmarked nearly a quarter of its branches for closure.
The chain which has around 80 restaurants has filed for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which allows them to close unprofitable branches and renegotiate expensive leases with landlords. They have said that 17 of their stores are earmarked for closure but have not responded to requests for the locations of the doomed branches. A CVA is a step short of going into administration and is a route that has been taken by a number of restaurant chains recently including Carluccio’s, Byron and Jamie’s Italian.
A local property practitioner who is also a regular at the Chiswick branch said, “I’d be quite hopeful that the local branch is not on the list. It has a reputation for being well run. It has recently had a refurbishment and is a long established restaurant having been around for over a decade. The site was vacant for a time after the closure of the Chiswick Restaurant and so it is likely that the terms of the lease are relatively attractive. In addition the rateable value per square metre for this slightly out of centre location is £900 per square metre against £1,500 for the recently closed Carluccio’s. The rateable value overall is £62,000, which is high but well below other similar sized restaurants in Chiswick, for instance on the Byron site the assessment is £122,000.”
On the other hand the GBK in Chiswick may be suffering from competitive pressures with Honest Burgers having opened just across the road and the Roebuck offering burgers on their menu. Chain restaurants are also believed to have been hit by an increasing tendency of diners to support independently owned operations.
The owner of GBK Famous Brands, a South African based company, has said that 250 jobs out of the 2,000 employed in the UK are at risk if the plan goes through although the company would look to redeploy staff. The company recently announced a £47million loss in what they describe as ‘a challenging casual dining market’.
Managing director Derrian Nadauld said, "We are having to take tough but necessary actions to reduce our fixed cost base and restore long-term profitability.
"This [CVA] will provide greater security for our staff, suppliers, landlords and customers."
The company has said that no branch is to close immediately.
October 26, 2018