Gourmet Burger Kitchen chief executive Alasdair Murdoch has told MCA he believes Famous Brands spent £120m on the brand because “we have concentrated on building a great business, as opposed to a business we could sell”.
He stressed that the group would not be ramping up its expansion plans following yesterday’s acquisition by the South African owner of Wimpy and would continue to target 10-15 sites a year, with the majority outside of London. There are also plans to add to its Ireland estate, at a rate of one to two a year for the next decade
Murdoch, who will continue as chief executive with the same senior team, said there were synergies to be gained from the deal further down the line.
He said: “We have managed to achieve this transaction because we’ve kept our head down and achieved some very good results. We’ve outperformed many others in the sector and I would imagine there are a few deals that haven’t gone forward recently because the numbers just weren’t strong enough.”
On expansion plans, he said: “We’re not going to be too aggressive. We will keep to 10-15 a year. We will eventually look to see if there are any synergies with the South Africans, such as buying some products off them.
“We already operate in a lot of different environments and we’ll continue to have a wide scope. One of the great things about fast-casual is you can get into smaller square footage than many other operators, so that gives you more options.
“Our growth will naturally gravitate away from London. We’ve had some really successful regional openings this year and there’s plenty more to go at.
“We won’t completely steer clear of London but we will look closely at affordability. If we open 12 next year probably one will be in London and another around the M25 belt.”
Yesterday, Kevin Hedderwick, Famous Brands’ group strategic advisor, called the GBK acquisition “the biggest deal the group has ever concluded, and one which will transform the future of the business”.