As New Zealand’s Burger King restaurants are placed into receivership under strain made worse by the coronavirus lockdown, one of its receivers says he aims to get the business restarted then sold.
Brendon Gibson of KordaMentha, who today was appointed as a receiver alongside colleague Grant Graham, told 1 NEWS the restaurants are looking into drive through and delivery options as soon as it’s allowed.
He said the goal of restarting the business would look like selling burgers, employing people then ultimately selling the business. About 80 outlets are affected.
“Looking forward into that, it needs the support of its creditors and its landlords.”
Mr Gibson said the receivership process by Burger King's parent companies - Tango Finance Limited, Tango New Zealand, and Antares New Zealand Holdings Limited - was part of a plan to seek support from suppliers and landlords to restart the business after the lockdown lifts.
Burger King’s creditors included about 40 main food suppliers and utility providers like power.
“It did have its financial difficulty before Covid-19, but now we’re in a position where, circumstances as they are, we’ve got to try and find a solution in difficult times,” he said.
Mr Gibson said people may want to continue the franchise in New Zealand, and this is backed by the head franchise operator Burger King Asia Pacific.
In a March 27 statement, Antares Restaurant Group Ltd - the operating arm of Burger King not in receivership so it can continue to trade - said it would pay all employees at least 80 per cent of their normal earnings, with many being paid 100 per cent.
Mr Gibson said Burger King’s 2000 workers continue to be supported by the wage subsidy, and that by restarting the business, the aim would be to get them back to work.
He said the company had ringfenced the money it had received from the wage subsidy to ensure it was used for its employees.
Antares Restaurant Group Ltd claimed nearly $11.5 million in wage subsidies according to Work and Income's website.
The fast food chain had been closed since the alert level four lockdown on March 25.