Concerns that the Bedford restaurant would close surfaced in August when GBK owners, Famous Brands, issued an announcement suggesting one of their brands may face ‘strategic options’.
This concern was heightened in October when the company filed for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and confirmed 17 stores across the UK would close to ensure the company’s survival.
Famous Brands recently filed losses of £2.24m in the 22 weeks to 29th July 2018, that’s triple the amount compared to the same period in 2017.
While this is a blow for Bedford it’s indicative of a national trend that has seen a slump in the casual dining sector.
“The challenges faced by some restaurants in Bedford are part of a wider malaise being felt across many parts of the UK in the casual dining sector,” said Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant Magazine. “Large high street restaurant groups are facing rising business rates and rents costs, high food inflation, rising staffing costs and also the effects of intense competition and oversaturation, particularly in the crowded burger and Italian sectors, which is forcing them in some cases to make significant number of closures across the country.”
Gaucho, Hummus Bros, Prezzo, Byron and Jamie’s Italian have all fallen on hard times as low consumer confidence has left brands with unsustainable overheads.
We have contacted Gourmet Burger Kitchen for comment.