Future of Hull restaurant uncertain as Handmade Burger Co goes into administration
Handmade Burger Co at St Stephen's shopping centre in Hull
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 10 Jul 2017
The Handmade Burger Co has gone into administration with the immediate closure of nine of its 29 sites - but Hull’s restaurant is safe for now.
The chain has closed down its website and social media accounts and its future is now in the hands of Leonard Curtis Recovery which has been appointed as administrators.
Handmade Burger Co was founded by Chris Sargeant, who opened the first restaurant in Birmingham in 2006.
The chain has venues across the UK and a total of nearly 900 staff.
Handmade Burger Co has a restaurant in St Stephen’s shopping centre in Hull which has been around for several years.
Some of the burgers at the Handmade Burger Co restaurant at St Stephen's shopping centre in Hull
A staff member there told the Mail: “We only found out what was happening a couple of days ago so we don’t know what will happen.
“But we are still open as normal and welcome our customers as usual. We have not heard anything about closing so far.”
Leonard Curtis Recovery confirmed nine restaurants have already closed with immediate effect.
A spokesman said: “Regrettably, nine of the 29 restaurants were closed on appointment. The remaining restaurants continue to trade as normal under the Joint Administrators’ control and they hope to find a solution which will enable as many jobs as possible to be preserved.
“The Joint Administrators intend to seek approval from the companies’ creditors to a Company Voluntary Arrangement (“CVA”), which is considered to be the best outcome for all creditors.
"If this cannot be achieved then the Joint Administrators will seek to find a buyer for the business."
Handmade Burger Co at St Stephens shopping centre in Hull
St Stephen's chopping centre manager Jim Harris says he will support the staff at Handmade Burger Co.
He said: "This news has come as a shock to us. But the burger market has become very busy over the years.
"Handmade Burger has done a very good job and the one in Hull is very well run.
"We will certainly do all we can to support the local staff."
Mr Harris also thinks the change in business rates may have left the chain in trouble.
He said: "Handmade Burger was due to expand as part of the plans for the food and leisure area but we don't know what will happen now.
"The change in business rates for leisure and food operators has provided an extra burden. I don't know if this is an issue for Handmade Burger but I know it has been a problem for other businesses."
No official reason has been given for the company’s collapse but there has been increased competition from new burger chains in the UK such as Five Guys.
The US brand has expanded its UK restaurants in recent years. Other more established brands have seen a decline in fortunes. Last summer Frankie and Benny’s announced a massive cull on their restaurants and in October Ed’s Easy Diner closed 26 sites.
Handmade Burger Co's restaurants has been dogged by poor food hygiene and Hull’s premises received a poor score a couple of years ago before bouncing back. It now has the top mark of five.