It’s been a brutal year for the food services industry, having to close down during the hard lockdown and contending with curfews, alcohol bans, capacity limits and other constraints on the individual’s God-given right to tuck into a burger and chips while washing it down with something cold and hoppy. Even when outlets were able to trade, they ran into the consumer’s understandable reluctance to shell out for a meal when every last cent of disposable income had to be made to work.

The big story of the year was the collapse of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which Famous Brands bought for $143.3m in 2016, a decision that, with hindsight, is unlikely to be ranked as one of the company’s canniest. The brand had been struggling and making huge losses in challenging trading conditions even before the pandemic, and once the world changed there was no option left but to call for the captive bullet...

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