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Gourmet Burger Kitchen could be latest chain to leave Norwich as insolvency procedure begins

PUBLISHED: 14:05 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:52 24 October 2018

Street view of GBK, Norwich. Photo: Google

Street view of GBK, Norwich. Photo: Google

Google

Gourmet Burger Kitchen has launched a restructuring plan that could see 17 sites close across the UK.

GBK owner Famous Brands has appointed accountancy firm Grant Thornton to initiate a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure used by struggling firms to ditch under performing sites.

Norwich has a GBK restaurant in the food court outside the Chapelfield shopping mall.

Famous Brands have confirmed that 17 outlets have been earmarked for closure, impacting 250 jobs.

Famous Brands, which only acquired GBK in 2016 for £120 million, said earlier this year that it is considering “strategic options” for the firm.

GBK operates around 80 stores and employs 2,000 people.

GBK would be the latest brand looking at a CVA, with big names like Debenhams, Claire’s Accessories and Regis Hairdressers all reporting to have considered the use of CVAs to stay afloat in a struggling high street.

Famous Brands has previously unveiled stinging losses at the burger chain.

The company said earlier this month that it would take a pre-tax impairment charge of £47.2m due to the brand’s sustained under-performance.

At the time of its takeover in 2016, Famous Brands said that fears of a Brexit effect on the eating-out market “appear negligible”, adding that it would look to export the GBK brand to South Africa.

Famous Brands, which also owns Wimpy, said it would double GBK in size and create more than 2,500 jobs as part of expansion plans.

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