Handmade Burger Co in administration with loss of 283 jobs
Restaurant chain Handmade Burger Co has collapsed into administration for the second time, leading to the closure of all 18 outlets and the loss of 283 jobs.
Insolvency practitioners at Leonard Curtis have been appointed as administrators after they failed to find a buyer for the business.
The company, registered as The Burger Chain Limited, was bought out of administration in 2017 after a rescue plan that led to the closure of nine restaurants.
The chain had outlets from Edinburgh to Southampton but administrators said its sales halved in the past few years.
“The casual dining market in the UK has experienced significant challenges over the last four years, largely as a result of overcapacity in the sector, which has resulted in a significant number of insolvencies,” said joint administrator David Griffiths. He added that the administrators will help Handmade Burger Co employees who have been made redundant to claim any money they are owed.
Rival burger chains have struggled in recent years owing to the problems in the wider casual dining sector. In 2018, Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen launched restructuring plans, company voluntary arrangements (CVAs), resulting in the closure of about a third of Byron’s outlets and almost a quarter of GBK’s restaurants. Jamie Oliver’s restaurant empire collapsed last year with the closure of almost all of his UK restaurants, including most of the Jamie’s Italian chain.
Analysts have blamed economic and political uncertainty for consumers’ reluctance to spend money at premium chains, and said diners had switched to cheaper options at coffee shops and cafes.
More casual dining casualties are expected this year according to George Charles of Money Saving Heroes: “Increased rent for shop space combined with waning consumer confidence is making it impossible for these businesses to operate sustainably. It is an awful time for the retail sector.”