Former GBK boss flips over to rival Burger King

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Former GBK boss flips over to rival Burger King

Related tags: Burger king, Hamburger

The former head of Gourmet Burger Kitchen has joined its fast food rival Burger King as its new chief executive.

Alasdair Murdoch, who previously led Pizza Express, stepped down from GBK at the end of 2017 after seven years.

Murdoch told BigHospitality’s​ sister site MCA​ that the Burger King brand needed ‘some love’, and he would work to build relationships with its multiple franchisees.

Burger King has over 500 restaurants in the UK, but falls behind fast food rivals McDonald’s – which has over 1,200 – and KFC, with over 800.

His appointment comes as consumer appetite for burgers​ appears to be waning, with Byron launching a strategic review of its business and smaller regional rival Meatcure closing four of its five sites last year.

Last November Private Equity firm Bridgepoint, which owns Pret A Manger, became the master franchisee of Burger King in the UK.

It also acquired Caspian UK Group, one of the UK’s largest Burger King franchisees with 74 sites.

"Working closely with our franchisees, we will take a measured approach to improving customer attraction and retention through investment in improving the consumer experience, our food offering, restaurants, teams and franchisees as we build a brand for the next generation," said Murdoch.

Murdoch joined GBK in 2010 and helped rejuvenate the brand, overseeing six years of like-for-like growth.

But he left the company last year after it reported a drop in like-for-like sales of 2.6% for the 22 weeks to 30 July. MCA​ reported that the group was scaling back expansion plans following disappointing sales, with only eight of a planned ten sites set to open before February.

Related topics: People

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