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Thu 23rd Jan 2020 - Handmade Burger Co placed in administration again, all sites closed
Handmade Burger Co placed in administration again, all sites closed: Burger Chain Ltd, owner of the 18-strong Handmade Burger Co brand, has been placed into administration, with all sites closing today (Thursday, 23 January). Leonard Curtis Recovery has been appointed administrator to the business following a recent failed sales process. It is the second time the brand has fallen into administration in the past three years. Last week Propel revealed property firm Berrys had been appointed to market the business, which was acquired out of administration by Burger Chain in 2017. It is understood expressions of interest were being sought no later than Tuesday (21 January), with a view to completion by Wednesday, 29 January. Leonard Curtis stated: “Unfortunately, despite considerable efforts to secure a sale of the company’s business, this hasn’t been possible and all 18 restaurants have today closed with the loss of 283 jobs.” Joint administrator David Griffiths said: “The casual dining market in the UK has experienced significant challenges over the past four years, largely as a result of overcapacity in the sector, which has resulted in a significant number of insolvencies. Sales at Handmade Burger restaurants have almost halved during this period, which has proved unsustainable. It’s disappointing circumstances have meant a sale of the business hasn’t been possible in this case but our focus now should be on those employees affected by this difficult news. We will work hard to provide them with all the necessary assistance to claim for monies that remain due to them.” Burger Chain filed notice of its intention to appoint an administrator for the 18-strong chain during the festive period. In October, Burger Chain appointed CBRE to assess its options for the brand, including a possible sale of the business. However, no successful bids came forward. The Handmade Burger Co business has annual turnover of circa £11m, with current rent payable in the order of £1.731m per annum. A sales document seen by Propel shows sales across all the company’s sites, apart from the one in Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead, have declined during the past two years. Sales at its site in Birmingham’s Bullring fell from £1.4m in 2017 to £897,092 last year; sales at its site in Bath dropped from £658,092 in 2017 to £256,308 last year; while sales at its site in West Quay, Southampton, fell from £748,838 in 2017 to £394,221 in 2019. Its site in Meadowhall, Sheffield, remains the most profitable, with sales of more than £1.1m in 2019. The properties are held as leasehold and involve 13 separate landlords. Offers were being sought for all or parts of the business. Handmade Burger Co operated sites in Aberdeen, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Glasgow Braehead, Glasgow St Vincent Street, Birmingham Brindleyplace, Birmingham Bullring, Leicester Highcross, Lincoln Brayford Wharf, Peterborough, Solihull Touchwood, Gateshead Metrocentre, Hull, Leeds Trinity, Sheffield Meadowhall, Bath, Bournemouth, Reading, Southampton West Quay and Wembley. Nine of the group’s sites closed under the insolvency process in 2017. A report by Companies House showed the then 20-strong chain was sold to Burger Chain Ltd out of administration for more than £1.45m.
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