Gourmet Burger Kitchen's ex-CEO, who left amid poor trading, will now head up Burger King UK

 
Lucy White
Burger King Alasdair Murdoch
Alasdair Murdoch has worked across GBK, Pizza Express and Pizza Hut (Source: Burger King)

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK)'s former chief executive, who left the company amid poor trading results last November, has been crowned as the new head of Burger King UK.

Alasdair Murdoch, who had led GBK for seven years and was previously the boss of Pizza Express, stepped down from the up-market burger chain along with chief operating officer Keith Bird just weeks after disappointing results prompted talk of halting new store openings.

The new Burger King UK entity was formed last November, as private equity firm Bridgepoint grabbed exclusive rights to the low-cost burger brand in the UK and acquired its major franchisee Caspian UK.

Read more: Pret a Manger private equity owner Bridgepoint confirms Burger King UK franchise buyout

"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.

While Murdoch was still at the helm last October, GBK warned that waning consumer confidence was partly to blame for its lacklustre results. At a time when many in the casual dining sector have been wary of consumers' decreased willingness to spend, Murdoch's move to a value chain may seem a canny decision.

Byron Burger, a GBK competitor, has also been struggling recently. Earlier this month it proposed an emergency restructuring plan to creditors, which involved putting a number of struggling restaurants on the block.

Read more: Byron Burger has a new chief executive

At Burger King, Murdoch will work alongside chairman Martin Robinson – who is also chairman of Bella Italia owner Casual Dining Group and Park Dean Resorts – and chief finance officer Tim Doubleday, who also used to hold the same role at Casual Dining Group.

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