Indian restaurant group with 400 jobs saved

January 19th, 2009 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 19 (IANS) A popular Indian restaurant group that supplied curries to London’s financial district has been rescued from bankruptcy, saving up to 400 jobs, it was announced Monday.Gourmet Restaurants, which owns the popular Tiffinbites chain and last year purchased the Bombay Bicycle Club and Vama restaurants, was rescued from collapsing into administration (similar to bankruptcy) by investment vehicle V8 Gourmet, administrators Chantrey Vellacott DFK said.

β€œIt is regrettable that there may be losses by creditors, however the businesses and the livelihoods of over 400 employees have been safe guarded,” the administrators said in a statement.

V8 Gourmet chairman Anoup Treon confirmed that the businesses will continue all its existing operations.

Vama founders Arjun and Andy Varma accepted an offer to join the V8 Gourmet management but Jamal Hirani, the Indian-origin man who founded the Gourmet Restaurants chain, was said to have quit.

β€œV8 Gourmet will look to exploit its well established brands by pursuing expansion opportunities in the UK and overseas. Despite the downturn in the economy, the management expects the performance of the businesses to be satisfactory,” Chantrey Vellacott DFK said.

Hirani, who came to Britain from Uganda at the age of eight, set up Gourmet Restaurants in 2003 after being inspired by his mother who made traditional Indian snacks for catering outlets.

He founded Tiffinbites in the same year - borrowing the concept from Mumbai dabbawalas - and developed it into what was later described as the City’s favourite Indian restaurant chain.

In addition to selling food at four restaurants and seven takeaways, it catered to 250,000 City workers.

In 2008, Hirani bought the Bombay Bicycle Club, said to be celebrity British chef Gordon Ramsey’s favourite Indian restaurant, and Vama.

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