21 April 2017

  |  CBI London


Member Spotlight: Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Competition in the “Casual Dining” space is intense. Another restaurant opens every week. 

Member Spotlight: Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) was bought in 2016 from Nando’s Group Holdings by Famous Brands, a leading African branded-restaurant business with over 2,500 restaurants.

GBK has been growing strongly. When the business was acquired by Nando’s Group Holdings in autumn 2010, it was turning over approximately £35m. This year turnover will approach £100m. While it is still a London-centric business, most of that growth will come from outside the M25.

That growth is founded on three simple principles: the food, the people and the environment.

We seek to serve the best quality burger that we can possibly afford for £10. Year on year, we raise the bar higher for our competition, and our customers enjoy better food.

I want the people that work in GBK to have fun. We invest heavily in training, with twice the number of trainers per restaurant than any of our competition. We have prepared for the apprenticeship levy and, while I believe in the concept behind the levy, for businesses like ourselves it looks like no more than a revenue-raising exercise.

At the start of the year we joined the CBI in order to play a more active role helping improve the Government’s understanding of the hospitality industry. We must stand up for our teams - over 50 per cent of us are non-UK passport holders. We employ people from 63 countries and love the diversity that brings. Access to labour markets is of critical importance.

In this year alone, our total rates bill has risen by 18 per cent on existing stores alone, costing us close to £500k. Our like-for-like wage growth is more than 5 per cent annually. London is fast becoming “un-buyable” for casual dining operators.

We need to do everything we can to help the CBI present the case for us and other members. Incremental burdens are preventing businesses from growing and investing further in the UK, creating jobs, paying more NI and bringing growth into the regions.

We must seek opportunities. Can we price lower than others? Can we open more restaurants within a new development? As people scale back, there might be good deals to be done. Can we raise quality further and shut out our competitors? All of the issues we face create opportunities and make us stronger.

We have just started on our journey with the CBI and I have been very impressed with the access, quality of debate and the welcome we have received. Hopefully we can, in our own small way, help a bit too.

Alasdair Murdoch, Chief Executive, Gourmet Burger Kitchen