Belfast Telegraph

Healthy eating chain Slim's Kitchen enters liquidation

By John Mulgrew

A voluntary winding-up order has been issued for the company behind a chain of healthy eating restaurants that has now closed six of its eight outlets.

Slim's Healthy Kitchen, set up by Gary McIldowney in 2013 after the former electrician underwent a dramatic weight loss, pulled down the shutters at its Victoria Square premises in Belfast city centre and five other locations.

Nicholas McKeague of McKeague Morgan & Company has now been appointed liquidator of GJD Restaurants Ltd.

The firm was appointed on Wednesday following the first meeting of creditors.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed last week that Slim's Kitchen had shut the majority of its eateries.

It is understood around 30 people were employed across the closed outlets.

The company said affected staff had been redeployed elsewhere in the business.

Last year Mr McIldowney described having a turnover of £4m and an average of 5,000 customers per week.

He also told of expansion plans for Northern Ireland, the Republic and Britain.

Slim's opened its second restaurant at Victoria Square a year after its first on the city's Lisburn Road.

A third followed at Belmont Road in east Belfast last year, along with openings in DW Fitness Clubs in four Northern Ireland locations.

The restaurants on South Belfast's Lisburn Road and Belmont Road in East Belfast are now the only two remaining.

The company said last week: "Slim's Healthy Kitchen has ceased trading at the following locations: Dundonald Omnipark, Victoria Square and within DW Fitness Clubs in Bangor, Newtownabbey, Boucher Road and Derry.

"This is a result of GJD Restaurants Ltd undertaking its own members' liquidation as part of a total reorganisation of the group of GJD Restaurants.

"Our experience has shown that the brand works very well in specific locations.

"In the new structure with our partners, the retained restaurants continue to successfully operate at Lisburn Road and Belmont Road," the company said.

It said that all staff at the affected restaurants had been offered employment at other locations and as a result jobs and employee rights were secure.

"We are confident this process of reorganisation will strengthen the business for future growth," it added.

Mr McIldowney told the Belfast Telegraph last year how his poor eating habits had led to him tipping the scales at 24 stone.

"I'd stop at a petrol station and get a sandwich, a snack bar and a juice, and think that was healthy enough.

"I should have been grabbing a tin of tuna and a salad," he said.

He had also said he planned to open Slim's outlets at seven DW gyms in Scotland.

The company would not comment on its future plans.

Belfast Telegraph