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Edinburgh GBK Manager Unsure Of Restaurant’s Future Amidst Company Sale

The manager of Gourmet Burger Kitchen on George street has said he “isn’t optimistic” about the restaurant reopening soon.

Photo by: Duncan Robertson

The George Street eatery closed at the beginning of the national lockdown in April but has since remained closed amidst an ownership auction for the UK-wide chain.

Josh King, the manager of George street’s GBK told EN4 News “There’s a good chance we’ll probably close for good.”

“With these new regulations that are coming in and with the news being what it is, I would say I’m not optimistic that we’ll be opening soon. If there is another actual lockdown will be on the scrapheap, I would imagine”, he said.

“I read in the paper today that a quarter of restaurants and pubs are saying the same thing. And I think, unfortunately, we’re going to be in the quarter that just wouldn’t be able to survive another lockdown”.

GBK is a chain of restaurants which employs nearly 1300 staff country-wide. Since lockdown restrictions have eased, the company has opened 37 of their stores for delivery and dine-in but has left 25, including their Edinburgh and Glasgow sites closed.

When asked if he was surprised that the Edinburgh restaurant hadn’t reopened given its central location, King said “I’m a little surprised, but a little bit not surprised. It’s a high street site so obviously, a lot of our clientele are in the offices around the city center. And obviously, the advice appears for offices to stay at home.

Photo By: Duncan Robertson

“Obviously, with things like Fringe and Christmas being cancelled, those sort of peak trading seasons for us are off the cards this year.

“The way that head offices handling reopening is they basically started at the top and work their way down a list based on weekly, and monthly sales and we fall at the sort of the bottom third of that list.”

King also added that it was “frustrating” to see other GBK sites around the country opening.

“Personally, it’s very frustrating. Obviously, it’s not good to be left waiting and essentially be left, you know, wondering. But professionally, I do appreciate it. The information is just not there to make a decision.”

Alex Darling, a 21-year-old student who also works in the George street GBK is more optimistic. She told EN4News “I am surprised that George street hasn’t reopened yet, I think the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme would have been great for getting both new customers and our regulars back into the restaurant so it’s a shame we missed it.

“We have received regular updates from the company about the reopening of restaurants, but I haven’t been told why George street hasn’t opened yet.”

The South African parent company of GBK, Famous Brands, has been trying to revitalise the brand’s 62 restaurants since its 2018 financial restructuring of the company.

In April, Famous Brands announced that it would no longer financially support any loss-making GBK restaurants. Darling, however, says employees have been receiving furlough since the Edinburgh restaurant closed.

“We have been receiving furlough throughout lockdown. The company has been great with ensuring staff are looked after during these strange times. My manager Josh has also been keeping in regular contact with us to check-in and make sure everyone is doing well.”

King also had kind words to say about the ways GBK has been looking after their employees, noting that “I’ve got my line manager above me, who’s checking in regularly. Obviously, you know, my manager, and other managers around the area, we’re all looking out for each other.

“Officially, GBK has an HR department with constant access to a phone and an email and things. So the support nominally has been there. But of course, it’s very difficult to keep morale up when you are in a situation where you don’t know really what’s going on from day-to-day. Of course, some of that is GBK’s fault in the sense that they’ve probably not been as open with us as they could have been. But obviously, the situation is changing every 24 hours in some cases, so there’s only so much they really can do to help.”

GBK’s Edinburgh customers have also been left without news of the eatery’s future as no announcements have been made on social media about it reopening. A note in the window of the George Street store says “Gone for now… But we’ll be back! Thanks for everything. Stay Safe!”

Photo By: Duncan Robertson

Darling seemed optimistic about the restaurant’s future. “I don’t think the George street branch will close. Hopefully, we can get back to work soon!

“I do miss being at work, I miss having the structure of going to both work and uni- it has been hard to adjust lockdown life”, she concluded.

Last week, Famous Brands announced they were beginning processes to sell the GBK chain.

No sale has been publicly announced yet but Calveton UK, the parent company of competitor chain Byron Burger has expressed interest in a potential purchase.

When asked if employees had been told anything about a potential sale, King said “Deloitte and most of the big consulting firms, they put out some advice in April and May to everyone who was holding any kind of casual dining brand to sell it, basically. As far as I know, Famous Brands is going to take that advice, and are looking to sell GBK as a brand – sell the whole thing.

“Beyond that, the T’s and C’s, we’re obviously not privy to that kind of sensitive information.”

When Famous Brands bought the company in 2016 they paid £120 million. In 2018 however, the group closed 20 GBK restaurants during a company voluntary agreement process.

According to Sky News, Deloitte is handling the GBK sale, but both parties declined the chance to comment.


Face mask fashion in Edinburgh

By Sorsha Caldwell

On July 10th, face coverings were made compulsory in shops across Scotland. For the fashion forward, the new rule was a chance to get creative and embrace this everyday necessity, incorporating it in to their style and look. In Edinburgh some opt for statement masks that reflect their style, while others have gone for the standard surgical mask.

The ideal mask: what’s yours?

Reporter Kieran Webster spoke to the public of Edinburgh about what they think makes the perfect face mask.


EN4 Sports Podcast – 24th September 2020

On today’s EN4 Sports Podcast, David Hogg, Alex Grant and Jake Grey discuss tonight’s Europa League matches. Aberdeen’s tricky tie in Portugal, Motherwell’s trip to Israel and the possibility of another European slip-up as the face Riga in Latvia.

As well as that, the boys discuss Rangers’ statement after Steven Gerrard was charged for his comments after the Dundee United match a few weeks ago and they cast an eye forward to another action pack weekend of Scottish Premiership football.


Twitter: @EN4newsonline
Instagram: @EN4news
Music: Desert Brawl by Vans in Japan from YouTube Audio Library

Recycling week 2020 – “Together We Recycle”

Recycling week is a celebration of recycling and for the past 17 years, it has reached millions of people encouraging them to recycle more.

This year’s campaign will thank the nation despite the challenges of 2020 and is labelled “Together – We Recycle”. In 2019 the recycling campaign reached 16 million people and 91 per cent of those claimed to have recycled more than in the previous year.

However, even though the campaign is reaching more and more people in certain areas we can still see the rate gradually decreasing. In 2018 it was reported that Edinburgh generated the most household waste with 198,341 tonnes alongside Glasgow.

The waste around Edinburgh can be seen in all parts of the city and even in some places you would not expect.



Sharing self-isolation stories all over Europe

Coming back to university life after a summer at home can be as exciting as much as it can be dreadful.

This year, with the health crisis the world is undergoing, students from all over the world have to adapt and makes change to get back into a changed, anxious, claustrophobic world on pause.

We have talked to two students from France and the Netherlands on their experience of quarantine.



EN4 Sports Podcast

On today’s EN4 Sports Podcast, David Hogg is joined by EN4 News’ own Alex Grant and Jake Grey to discuss the weekend’s major talking points from the Scottish Premiership. There were strong performances from Hibs and Motherwell and an early contender for goal of the season from Lawrence Shankland. Plus, the panel wonder about what Alfredo Morelos’s legacy will be should he leave Rangers.
Twitter: and Instagram: @EN4newsonline
Music: bensounds.com

EN4 morning news brief

Tune in as Amy-Leigh Hollingsworth reads the local news of today.


Tune in later today for EN4 afternoon news brief.

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