Ranjit Singh Boparan buys Gourmet Burger Kitchen in rescue deal | Business

Gourmet Burger Kitchen has been bought out of administration by the food industry tycoon Ranjit Singh Boparan in a deal that will save more than 660 jobs.

Boparan, who bought Carluccio’s in May, has bought 35 of the burger restaurant’s sites. However, under the pre-pack administration deal, 26 other sites will close, with the loss of 362 jobs.

The burger chain, which was owned by the South African company Famous Brands, which also owns Wimpy in the UK, was put on the market as it struggled amid the pandemic and high street lockdown.

But Gourmet Burger Kitchen has been in difficulties since a restructuring deal with landlords in 2018 under which it agreed to close up to 17 sites after the casual dining market became oversaturated.

Gavin Maher, a partner at Deloitte who was appointed joint administrator on Wednesday, said: “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.”

Labelled the “chicken king” as he is the co-owner and founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, which supplies about a third of the chicken on UK supermarket shelves, Boparan’s business interests includes turkey producer Bernard Matthews, the upmarket London restaurant The Cinnamon Club restaurant, as well as the Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner chains.

Satnam Leihal, the managing director of Boparan Restaurant Group, said: “This latest acquisition is in line with our strategy to grow our restaurant group with quality brands. Whilst it is an extremely challenging time for the sector, we believe quality hospitality businesses will recover in the long term as people return to eating out.”

Boparan is extending his empire as restaurants and pubs face intense financial pressure during the coronavirus crisis.

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UK operators were forced to close for several months in March and continue to suffer from local lockdowns in some parts of the country, as well as from low visitor numbers on high streets, retail parks and shopping centres in general.

With profits under pressure, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Azzurri Group, which ownsAsk Italian and Zizzi, and the Casual Dining Group, which owns Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, have all closed outlets, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen sites to close under the deal

Angel, London
Aylesbury
Baker Street, London
Berner Street, London
Brunswick Centre, London
Canterbury
Cardiff Library
Chichester
Clink Street
, London
Covent Garden, London
Edinburgh
Glasgow
(closed before administrators were appointed)
Maidstone
Nottingham
Richmond
, London

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NWI Business Ins and Outs: Sophia’s House of Pancakes, Joe’s Downtown Tacos, If Walls Could Talk Home Decor, and BYOB Fitness opening | Northwest Indiana Business Headlines

• BYOB Fitness, whose slogans have included “Build Your Own Body” and “Helping You Build the Best Version of Yourself,” opened in a former video store at 8231 Hohman Avenue in Munster.

The gym offers personal training, group classes, nutritional counseling, boot camps, and pop-up shops. It helps clients who want to build muscle, lose weight, change eating habits or just get coached by a trainer to reach their fitness goals.

Catering to both men and women, it offers certified instructors, full-body workouts, and live classes for all fitness levels. The fitness center offers private training and group classes such as yoga, core and cardio.

A retail section at the fitness center also sells items like tank tops, crew necks, face masks, water bottles and gym bags.

For more information, visit www.buildyourownbodybygina.com.

• Supermercado Durango just opened in Griffith.

The locally owned independent Mexican grocery store is now doing business at 507 E. Glen Park Ave. in a strip mall off 45th Street in Griffith, near the border of Gary’s Black Oak neighborhood. The new store sells fresh groceries and authentic Mexican food. It also runs a taqueria that offers tacos, tortas, sopas, gorditas, burritos and fajitas that are cooked to order.

It took over the space previously owned by Griffith Meats & Catering, a longtime institution that closed for good in 2018.

Supermercado Durango is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, call 219-513-9531, email [email protected] or find the business on Facebook.

• Mariner Finance, a personal loan lender, opened in the former Subway restaurant at 9515 Indianapolis Blvd. Suite 1 in the Sir James Court strip mall in Highland.

The financial services company has 450 branches in 24 states. It offers auto loans, personal loans, debt consolidation loans, home loans and other financial services products. The long-time submarine sandwich shop that previously occupied the space shuttered there last year along with Subways in Valparaiso, Michigan City, Hobart and many other Region locations.

• The Alley, the iconic rock, underground and counterculture store that’s a major regional draw from across greater Chicagoland, has closed at the Clark and Belmont intersection in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood for the second time in the last few years.

The shop with the landmark skull-and-crossbones logo that sells T-shirts, shoes and leather jackets, has relocated to 2620 W. Fletcher St. in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood.

A destination for many Region residents over the years, The Alley sells a number of punk, rock, metal, goth, and other youth fashions, including Chicago T-shirts, chain wallets, buttons and more. It’s been a Chicago institution for more than 40 years but has lately transitioned to a more online model of doing business.

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White House urges small business rescue plan

The White House on Sunday changed tactics yet again on boosting the pandemic-hit US economy, this time urging lawmakers to back a plan to help small businesses weeks ahead of the presidential election.

The change comes after President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and Democrats both rejected, for different reasons, a beefed-up $1.8 trillion economic rescue plan proposed Friday.

In a letter Sunday to Congress, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged backing for a bill allowing some $130 billion in unused funds from a previous support plan to be redirected.

The money would be earmarked for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized companies, that are facing declining revenues while negotiations for more support drag on.

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” the letter said.

– Not enough –

It is unlikely that Democrats will accept the request with about three weeks left until the November 3 election and as Trump trails challenger Joe Biden badly in opinion polls. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating with the administration, has already rejected any idea of targeted measures, saying she wants broad economic support that she believes will boost activity.

The White House’s new strategy comes after a week in which Trump and his team had already switched tactics, jumping between cutting off talks, returning to the negotiating table and targeted measures — but without much success.

Markets tanked on Tuesday following Trump’s abrupt move to end stimulus talks, but he made an about-face in subsequent days that saw him calling for a deal.

The White House on Friday beefed up its offer, proposing a $1.8 trillion package as Trump himself said that he favored an even larger package.

But the proposal was rejected on both sides.

Pelosi said the plan amounted to “one step forward, two steps back,” adding that the proposed sum was not enough.

Many Republican senators deemed Trump’s offer too generous. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell poured cold water on the chances for a deal Friday, saying Congress is unlikely to agree on a new stimulus package before the election due to differences over how much to spend.

But Trump’s economic advisor said Sunday that a new Covid-19 economic stimulus package proposed by the White House could still be passed, despite opposition from Democrats and some Republicans.

Asked if the proposed deal was dead, Larry Kudlow told CNN’s “State of the Union,” “No, I don’t think it’s dead at all.”

“We’re asking for some targeted areas of assistance that would help this recovery. It is a V-shaped recovery, but there are key areas that could help,” Kudlow said.

The coronavirus has hit the US economy hard: nearly 11 million people are unemployed, and a total of 25 million people have seen their incomes drop and are relying on public aid.

Many

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White House calls for Congress to release unused small business loans

Oct. 11 (UPI) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday sent a letter to Congress calling for the release of unused Paycheck Protection Program funds amid ongoing talks on an additional round of COVID-19 stimulus.

Mnuchin and Meadows urged lawmakers to release the $134 billion in loans provided to small businesses to maintain operations and retain employees included in the $2 trillion CARES Act passed in March, while also criticizing Congress — particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer — for their “all-or-nothing” approach to negotiating additional stimulus.

“The House has passed two separate partisan bills instead of compromising with us on bipartisan legislation like we have done in the past,” they wrote. “We will continue to try to work with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer. It is not just about the top-line number but also about legislation that can be passed by the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Trump to help the American people.”

The letter comes after Mnuchin introduced a $1.8 trillion proposal on Friday, raising the White House’s previous offer of $1.6 trillion and inching closer to the $2.2 trillion package passed by the Democratic-led House earlier this month.

Mnuchin’s proposal was met with criticism from Democrats who believed it was not enough and some Republicans who believe the funding is too high.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said that he believes Senate Republicans can come to an agreement in support of a newly proposed $1.8 trillion package despite host Jake Tapper noting that 20 GOP members of the chamber criticized the latest proposal from the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a “death knell” for the measure.

“I don’t think it’s dead at all. I spoke to Secretary Mnuchin last evening. Look, don’t forget, the Republicans in the Senate put up their own bill a few weeks ago and got 53 votes, I think it was,” Kudlow said, referring to a so-called “skinny” $300 billion relief bill that failed to meet the 60 vote threshold to pass in September.

“I think, if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it.”

Democrats have pushed to reinstate enhanced federal unemployment insurance at $600 a week through January, while Mnuchin last offered $400 a week at most. The Trump administration has also resisted providing states with any more than $150 billion in federal funding they received in a stimulus package earlier this year, while Pelosi has called for at least $436 billion in relief for states.

In a letter to Democratic colleagues on Saturday, Pelosi said the latest offer from the White House was “insufficient,” calling on the administration to commit to addressing issues related to combatting the virus such as testing, contact tracing and treatment.

“Until these serious issues are resolved, we remain at an impasse,” she wrote. “However, I remain hopeful that the White House will join us to

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How Two Music Industry Professionals Launched A New Business During A Pandemic

When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, married couple “Zito” and Christin Zito were trying to figure out next steps. Zito, who spent the past 20 years on the road most recently serving as production manager for Steve Aoki, and Christin, a celebrity hair and makeup stylist, weren’t sure what to do.

On Easter Sunday the couple was planning a cheat meal for their diet and Zito had a sourdough starter already made. While brainstorming what to make with it, they settled on sourdough cinnamon rolls. Having previously baked sourdough bread during Covid-19, the Zitos immediately knew there was something special about the sourdough cinnamon rolls. When Christin posted a photo on Instagram of their cheat meal, the outpouring of comments from people wanting a roll for themselves got them thinking. Soon, the couple began selling cinnamon rolls in their subdivision in Tennessee and the first weekend they sold 63 rolls, the following weekend 83 and by the third weekend they baked and sold over 120 sourdough cinnamon rolls.

MORE FROM FORBESCole Swindell Returns To The Stage With Fireplay’s Virtual Crowd

“By the fourth week we had over 200 orders,” Zito tells me. “[I thought] ‘OK, I think we’re onto something here.’ So how can we scale it? How can we grow it? And how can we move it towards a business that can sustain us during this time?”

Logistically minded, his day job as a production manager for the past 21 years had Zito responsible for all aspects of a touring show including hiring the lighting and sound team, video crew and trucking. Zito then took these organizational skills into the kitchen. Zito’s logistics know-how combined with Christin’s expertise with a social media management company she launched during the pandemic had the pair merging their strengths to form Rock N Rollz Nashville.

“It was the perfect marriage. As [the company] grew, it told us what needed to happen for the business,” Christin says. “At the time we were just week by week, trying to figure it out.”

Since the end of May, the Zitos have made 14,300 rolls and now average orders of 1400 rolls a week. Every sourdough cinnamon roll is rolled by hand and hand frosted with salted vanilla buttercream, the very same frosting the couple made for themselves on Easter Sunday.

For every roll purchased, 50 cents goes to MusiCares, a non-profit that helps music industry professionals in times of need. The decision to give back to the music community was made early on in the formation of Rock N Rollz Nashville as the Zitos explain that

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Meet the Mumbai family that built a Rs 25 Cr business by bringing German luxury kitchen brands to India

In 1998, while visiting Japan, Hamendra and Rati Sharma would walk to the train station every day and see a store by Poggenpohl, a leading German kitchen brand.

Captivated by the luxurious designs on display, inspired the couple to start a business that would bring luxury and modular kitchens to India.

The duo made this dream a reality in 1998 by starting SIS Imports in Mumbai, bringing Poggenpohl to the Indian market. In 2015, the business was rebranded to Plusch, and is responsible for introducing several German luxury kitchen, wardrobe and furniture brands to India.

Their daughter Sukriti Sharma, who is a partner at Plusch, tells SMBStory, “Not many people believed in my parents’ dream because no one felt there was a market for luxury kitchens [in India]. But we pioneered the movement and brought brands like Poggenpohl, Eggersmann, and Beckermann for kitchens; Interluebke and Schmalenbach for wardrobes; and COR, Draenert, and Walter Knoll for furniture.”

She claims that Plusch is presently raking in an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore, and has 80 employees across India.

Enduring a difficult start

Originally from Kanpur, both Hamendra and Rati grew up in families that dealt in the manufacturing business. While Hamendra’s father was in the steel business, Rati’s father worked in the plywood industry.

To start SIS Imports, the couple got their initial investment from their families and took up a small kitchen design store in Mumbai on rent, and imported the kitchen displays and appliances for Rs 25 lakh.

At a time when luxury kitchens were almost unheard of in India, it was unsurprising that not everyone took kindly to the business.

“People would enter the showroom in Mumbai and hurl abuse at my parents for selling a kitchen as expensive as a house in the city,” says Sukriti.

The entrepreneurs also faced challenges in getting customs clearances for the imports. Educating potential premium buyers about the feasibility and advantages of using a luxury modular kitchen made in Germany was an uphill battle as well.

As a result, it took the business six months to make its first sale. Since then, there has been no looking back as word-of-mouth brought more customers to their doorstep, helping them grow.

family business

Hamendra Sharma (left), Sukriti Sharma (centre) and Rati Sharma (right)

Joining the family business

Sukriti became involved in the business when she was just 18-years-old.

“I was studying at King’s College in London, where I interned with Poggenpohl. During my summer holidays, I would work with my parents and assist in training employees on the shop floor,” she says.

After her graduation, she came back to India to formally join the business. Setting up a showroom in Hyderabad, she spearheaded the rebranding of the organisation from SIS Imports to Plusch.

According to her, rebranding the business to a German-sounding name complemented its drive to bring more German brands to India.

“Our clients were happy with the product quality of the luxury kitchens and started requesting us

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Lowe’s Gains From Home Improvement Business & Online Sales

Home renovation and maintenance activities have been gaining prominence lately, thanks to increased stay-at-home practices amid the coronavirus pandemic. The trend has been benefiting certain home improvement market players, including Lowe’s Companies, Inc. LOW. This apart, the company’s efforts to expand digital offerings is worth appreciating. These upsides were well-reflected in the company’s second-quarter fiscal 2020 results, with the top and the bottom line improving year on year. Let’s dig deeper.

Bright Prospects in Home Improvements Market

Growing inclination toward home improvement projects is quite visible in Lowe’s second-quarter fiscal 2020 results. Comparable sales (comps) for the company’s U.S. home-improvement business increased 35.1% in the second quarter, following an increase of 12.3% in the first quarter.

In the reported quarter, comps gained from sturdy project demand from DIY and pro customers across channels, product categories and geographies. It saw comps growth of more than 20% across all its merchandising divisions, while all the U.S. geographic regions posted comparable sales increase of at least 30%.

Industry experts point out that that consumer spending on home improvement products are likely to remain favorable in the near term. Safety concerns and continued work-at-home practice amid the pandemic have compelled individuals to stay inside. As a result, DIY projects for remodeling, decorating as well as maintenance of furniture and fixtures are being widely undertaken. We expect Lowe’s to keep gaining from such trends.

Digital Investments are a Key Growth Catalyst

Lowe’s is investing toward boosting its omni-channel operations for a while. When shopping preferences began witnessing a major shift with the onset of the pandemic, Lowe’s accelerated its efforts to expand digital offerings. In this context, the migration of Lowes.com to the cloud as well as the roll out curbside pickup helped the company sustain online growth.

We note that the company has been building upon its in-store technology and delivery network over the past 18 months to support elevated DIY and Pro customer demand. Markedly, sales at Lowes.com increased 135% in second-quarter fiscal 2020, as the company’s pro and DIY customers increasingly shopped online. This drove online penetration to 8% of sales.

Moreover, the company is focusing on further enhancing capabilities such as online-delivery scheduling and order tracking as well as search and navigation. Moreover, with rising demand for contactless services, Lowe’s latest investment in self-service lockers is another feather in its cap. More than 60% of the company’s online orders are picked up in stores. Hence, broadening pickup options are a worthwhile strategy for the company for creating a frictionless shopping experience for time-pressed customers.

Well Lowe’s isn’t the only company in the home improvements space striving to gain from consumers growing digital inclination. Other players such as Home Depot HD, Fastenal FAST and Beacon Roofing Supply BECN are also gaining on the back of prudent digitization efforts.

These Stocks Are Poised to Soar Past the Pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted consumer behavior dramatically, and a handful of high-tech companies have stepped up to keep America running. Right now, investors in

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WATCH NOW: Big expansion underway at food incubator Hatch Kitchen RVA | Business News

From its initial space in one of the Clopton Siteworks buildings, Hatch Kitchen is now expanding into two other buildings next door to the first one. It will have a total of about 50,000 square feet with the expansion.

Besides opening a new cafe’ in its first building at 2600 Maury St., Hatch also has opened six new, private kitchen suites, along with a new kitchen space designed specifically for bakery operations. The site also includes private offices and a conference room.

Next door to the first Hatch Kitchen building, construction crews are putting the final touches on renovations of the second building, which houses a new temperature-controlled butchery area, a USDA certified facility to process meat-based food products that will be sold in stores.

Currently, the closest short-term rental for small producers in the meat business is in Maryland, according to Lynx Ventures.

The new facility also has a commercial wood smoker for meats. 

“We have a client that is very serious about their barbecue and wood smoking, so we decided to get this for them to use,” Green said. “You can smoke something like 250 pounds of meat in here at a time. A lot of the indoor smokers that you see use pellets or sawdust, but not this guy. This is the real deal.”

Another room in the second building includes a new bottling and labeling operation for Hatch’s subsidiary business, Hatch Packaging. That room also includes a 150-gallon kettle for cooking, with room for additional kettles in future expansions.

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Fat Noodle launches burgers and fries ‘ghost’ kitchen | Business News



Ramon Gonzales, operating owner of Fat Noodle, prepares an order of burgers and fries at the restaurant. Gonzales has launched a ghost kitchen out of the restaurant called Rae’s Classics Burgers, Fries and Pies.




The mother-son team behind Tucson’s Fat Noodle ramen shop knows firsthand how unkind COVID-19 has been to independent restaurants.

For months now, they have sat in their Tucson Mall area restaurant watching traffic along North First Avenue and East Wetmore Drive pass in front of their 2-year-old restaurant.

Then Linda and Ramon Gonzales had an idea: What if they reinvented themselves, offered something a little more portable to fit into our carryout-friendly COVID world?

Relaunching their restaurant, tucked into the first floor of the Seasons student housing complex at 811 E. Wetmore Road, was cost-prohibitive. And besides, Ramon Gonzales’s noodles had a large following going back to 2011 when he rolled out a food truck back when food trucks were just gaining in popularity.

So they did the next best thing: They created a “ghost kitchen” that they dubbed Rae’s Classics Burgers, Fries & Pies, a burger joint in the vein of the long-closed Tucson landmark Shari’s First Ave. For more than 50 years, that tiny burger shack on North First Avenue served up single, double and triple no-frills honest-to-goodness burgers and fries before closing in summer 2008.

“It’s a very simple model. The burgers are never frozen. Then you add on bacon, lettuce, cheese — whatever you want,” Linda Gonzales said.

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COVID-19 business effect: Solstice closes, Mr Friendly’s reopens

Owner Ricky Mollohan’s posts announce closing of popular northeast Columbia restaurant, reopening of Five Points mainstay

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The announcement hit social media around 10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 — Ricky Mollohan has closed Solstice Kitchen in northeast Columbia.

Mollohan, who can be outspoken on social media, said in the Solstice Facebook post that money became the main issue. He had closed both Solstice and Mr Friendly’s restaurants in mid-March, as per Gov. Henry McMaster’s orders in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

WLTX’s Whitney Sullivan and I had interviewed Mollohan on March 17 at Mr. Friendly’s in Five Points. It was supposed to be the restaurant’s 25th anniversary but instead marked the last week of operation — until today. More on that in a minute.

The decision to shutter Solstice was not an easy one. Mollohan had applied for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding from the Small Business Administration but never received any money. Bills — for utilities and taxes –on the brick-and-mortar restaurant on Sparkleberry Lane began to pile up and the landlord decided to put the building up for sale. Still, Mollohan had planned on a soft reopening of Solstice on Tuesday, Sept. 29 with an official reopening on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Looking back, Mollohan said in his post that he probably didn’t plan far enough for the lack of cash flow. “The health and safety of our staff and customers always came first,” he wrote. ” And it was with hopes that we could come out of this with a better plan for the future.”

“In April I thought that planning for three months was sufficient,” Mollohan continues. “It will go down as one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.”

But it is not all gloom and doom. Mollohan even hints that Solstice may return some day.

Meanwhile, back on March 17, Mr. Friendly’s in Five Points was to begin a 25th anniversary celebration. Mollohan had plans to remodel the space, expand into the empty space next door and revamp the menu. Plans changed. Instead of celebrating, Mollohan had to decide to continue to stay open with limited service, adjust to a take-out only, or close the doors and hope to reopen at a later date.

Mollohan reopening Mr. Friendly’s Tuesday evening. 

The restaurant at 2001-A Greene Street will offer indoor dining — reservations recommended — and take-out service 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Lunch service is scheduled to resume Oct. 13. Expect a limited menu as the restaurant ramps up service.

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