Hundreds of jobs going as Ed's Easy Diner axes half its restaurants
US-style burger bar chain Ed's Easy Diner confirmed it is closing nearly half of its 59 UK restaurants with immediate effecting and slashing 379 jobs.
But its Belfast eaterie at Boucher Road, which only opened last year, is understood to have escaped the axe.
The 1950s American diner-style brand was bought out by the restaurant arm of food mogul Ranjit Boparan.
Giraffe Concepts, which is owned by Boparan Restaurant Holdings, says will close about half of the Ed's Easy Diner locations across the UK as part of a pre-packaged administration sale.
A total of 26 of the existing 59 restaurants will close with immediate effect.
Rob Croxen, partner at administrator KPMG, said: "Our immediate priority in the coming days will be to liaise with those employees who have been affected by redundancy and ensure that in addition to receiving all back pay owed, they are provided with any assistance they need."
Ed's Easy Diner, once touted as one of the UK's fastest-growing food chains, launched in Belfast in May last year, but was later forced to abandon plans for a second restaurant in the city centre at Castle Lane.
The transaction will see Giraffe Concepts acquire 33 restaurants and the company's head office team, which will secure about 700 jobs.
The list of Ed's locations set to close include restaurants in Leicester, Reading, Wandsworth, Banbury, Blackpool and Derby.
It is the latest in a string of recent acquisitions by food mogul Mr Boparan.
The so-called "chicken king" snapped up turkey meat producer Bernard Matthews from private equity group Rutland Partners in another pre-pack administration deal through his food manufacturing company 2 Sisters Food Group in September.
Giraffe is also a relatively new member of Boparan Restaurant Holdings, having been bought from Tesco for an undisclosed amount back in June.