Casual dining chain, the Handmade Burger Co was placed into administration yesterday, with the immediate closure of nine of its 29 sites.
Paul Masters, Conrad Beighton and Julien Irving of Leonard Curtis Recovery have been appointed as administrators.
The remaining restaurants will continue to trade as normal under the joint administrators’ control, while a solution is sought that will 'will enable as many jobs as possible to be preserved'.
Leonard Curtis Recovery has said that it intends to seek approval from the companies’ creditors to a Company Voluntary Arrangement (“CVA”), 'which is considered to be the best outcome for all creditors'. However, if that cannot be achieved, a buyer will be sought for the business.
The Birmingham-based company, led by Chris Sargeant, was founded in 2006. It appointed former Frankie & Benny’s managing director, Kevin Bacon, as non-executive chairman in September 2016. In May 2016 it announced plans to open 15 new stores over the next three years.
Though no official reason has yet been given for the company’s collapse, increased competition, rising food and staffing costs, and increased business costs such as business rates, are thought to be squeezing margins for many operators competing for leisure spend.
As reported by Imbibe late last year, the collapse of the Ed’s Easy Diner chain was seen as a sign that the market was beginning to 'cool off', according to Simon Chaplin, head of restaurants, London for commercial property agent, Christie + Co.
The American-style diner chain was originally put up for sale in 2015 for £90m. However, it finally sold for £8.75m in October 2016, with the closure of 26 sites and the loss of 377 jobs.