Restaurant chain The Handmade Burger Company has gone into administration with the immediate closure of nine of its 29 sites.

The group, which was founded in Brindleyplace, has closed down its website and social media accounts.

The future of the burger chain is now in the hands of Colmore Row-based Leonard Curtis Recovery which has been appointed as administrators.

Handmade Burger Company was founded by Chris Sargeant who opened the first restaurant in Brindleyplace in 2006.

The canalside Handmade Burger Company at The Waters Edge, Brindleyplace.
The canalside Handmade Burger Company at The Waters Edge, Brindleyplace - opened in 2006
Handmade Burger Company, Grand Central station
Handmade Burger Company, Grand Central station

As well as two other restaurants in Birmingham - in Bullring and Grand Central - it had more than 20 outlets across the UK and a total of nearly 900 staff.

A press statement from Leonard Curtis Recovery said: "Regrettably, nine of the 29 restaurants were closed on appointment.

"The remaining restaurants continue to trade as normal under the joint administrators' control and they hope to find a solution which will enable as many jobs as possible to be preserved.

"The joint administrators intend to seek approval from the company's creditors to a company voluntary arrangement which is considered to be the best outcome for all creditors.

"If this cannot be achieved, then the joint administrators will seek to find a buyer for the business."

Staff at Five Guys
US chain Five Guys has given UK burger restaurants fierce competition

None of the chain's restaurants in Birmingham had been closed at of time of writing.

No official reason has been given for the company's collapse but there has been increased competition from new burger chains in the UK such as Five Guys.

The US brand has expanded their UK restaurants in recent years including two branches in Birmingham - Grand Central and Broad Street. Earlier this year it was voted best burger in the UK

In the meantime, more established brands have seen a decline in fortunes.

Last summer, Frankie and Benny’s announced a massive cull on their restaurants and in October Ed's Easy Diner closed 26 sites.

Birmingham has also seen the rise of the independent eateries such as Nosh and Quaff and Original Patty Men which opened in 2015 - welcome additions to the city's expanding restaurant scene.

The cardboard cut-out woman
Ed's Easy Diner, Barclaycard Arena

The 2017 Hardens Guide recently praised Original Patty Men as one of the best restaurants in Birmingham and the best place to get a burger hands down.

Later this summer, street food vendors Meat Shack will open an eatery in Thorpe Street in the city's Southside area serving up monster burgers of "filthy goodness".

Handmade Burger Company's Birmingham restaurants have been dogged by poor food hygiene.

In 2015, a customer complained after allegedly finding mould on his burger at the Brindleyplace site while another customer at the Bullring branch claimed she found a fly in a burger.

And earlier this year the Brindleyplace branch was given a zero food hygiene.