Wimpy owner buys Gourmet Burger Kitchen for £120m

01 September 2016 by
Wimpy owner buys Gourmet Burger Kitchen for £120m

Famous Brands, which also owns Wimpy and Paul, has acquired Gourmet Burger Kitchen for £120m.

GBK's team will continue to manage the business. No changes to personnel are planned, and the intention is for the transition in ownership to be effected seamlessly, with no disruption to operations.

Some 93% of the restaurant portfolio has either been refurbished or opened in the past five years and the brand recently bought back the rights to its franchise business in Ireland, which adds five more restaurants to its portfolio.

Launched in 2001 in south London, GBK was founded by three New Zealanders and acquired by the YellowWood Group in 2010. GBK now comprises 75 restaurants across the UK, including in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bath, Birmingham, Swindon, Norwich, and across London.

Kevin Hedderwick, Famous Brands' group strategic advisor, said: "We've been looking to expand our presence in the UK market for some time, and the acquisition of GBK was the perfect opportunity for us to do this. Not only will this enhance our existing income stream with currency earned outside of Africa, it simultaneously up-weighs Famous Brand to a higher league.

"Furthermore, there is opportunity to export the brand to South Africa, which would afford Famous Brands representation in the premium burger Fast Casual dining category where we do not currently compete."

He added: "We are confident that the existing business model has the potential to double GBK's footprint within the next five years, and I am confident that the addition of GBK to our portfolio positions the group optimally to attain its future growth targets."

Alasdair Murdoch, CEO of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, said: "We're delighted to move onto the next phase of growth with Famous Brands. Since we started dealing directly with the team, there has been real chemistry and a sense of shared understanding and vision."

He added that GBK aims to continue opening 10-15 restaurants a year in the UK and look at other growth opportunities.

Last month the UK burger market was estimated to be worth £3.28b, up 22% from 2011.

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