Published: 16:35, 14 October 2020
| Updated: 18:06, 14 October 2020
National chain Gourmet Burger Kitchen is to close two of its Kent restaurants as part of a plan to keep the company afloat.
The firm will be shutting 26 of its outlets across the country, resulting in 362 job losses.
Of those, the Kent branches to face the chop are Canterbury and Maidstone.
Bluewater's restaurant is due to remain, along with 35 others.
The 20-year-old company, known as GBK, has been saved from administration - but its rescue has come at the cost of more than two dozen restaurants.
GBK said it had started to see improvements in trading last year after a major restructuring process in 2018, which saw it shut a raft of sites.
However, the firm, which had been owned by South African group Famous Brands, slid into administration after coronavirus impacted upon its liquidity and potential to be sold as a solvent business.
But it has now been sold in a pre-pack administration deal after working with insolvency specialists at Deloitte.
Boparan Restaurant Group, which also brought Carluccio’s out of trouble earlier in the pandemic, is taking on the company.
The move will save 35 sites and 669 jobs from its original network of 61 restaurants and 1,031 employees.
Gavin Maher, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: “As with a number of dining businesses, the broader challenges facing ‘bricks and mortar’ operators, combined with the effect of the lockdown, resulted in a deterioration in financial performance and a material funding requirement.
“We have been working closely with the management team under very difficult market conditions to try and find a funding solution and I am glad to be able to announce the rescue of this well-loved brand together with a large proportion of the sites and workforce.
“However, it’s clearly disappointing that a number of sites have had to close resulting in today’s redundancies.
“We would like to thank all of those involved in the transaction, including our legal advisers, DLA Piper, and wish the management team, workforce and the new owners, Boparan Restaurant Group, every success in now taking the business forward.”