Byron Burger sheds 650 jobs and closes more than half its outlets

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TOLGA AKMEN

Restaurant chain Byron Burger is closing permanently more than half its 51 outlets and cutting 650 jobs.

It is part of a deal that will see the remaining 20 sites and 551 staff transfer to a new owner, Calverton UK.

Many of the restaurants were already closed, victims of the economic impact on the hospitality sector of coronavirus.

Will Wright, an administrator at KPMG who sold the chain, said the pandemic’s impact “on Byron has been profound”.

He added: “After exploring a number of options to safeguard the future of the business and following a competitive sales process, this transaction ensures Byron will continue to have a presence on our high streets.”

It was believed that KPMG was in talks with three potential buyers, which were were looking at taking over the whole firm or parts of it.

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Founded in 2007, Byron has been struggling for a number of years. In 2018 it agreed a rescue plan and restructuring which was handled by KPMG.

As part of that deal, investment house Three Hills Capital Partners became the biggest shareholder.

‘Great opportunity’

Under the deal, Byron Burger’s existing investors will take a minority stake in the business, KPMG said. No financial details were disclosed.

Sandeep Vyas, of Calveton said: “Byron is a pioneering brand much loved by customers across the UK. We are backing Byron because we believe it has great opportunity ahead of it, and it is well placed to adapt to the new consumer environment and dining trends.”

He said the new investors would look to boost the chain’s digital on-demand platforms.

Restaurant chains, which were already under pressure before the coronavirus crisis, have been hit hard by the pandemic.

The owner of Cafe Rouge, Casual Dining Group, and Bella Italia-owner Azzurri, are among several chains to fall into administration during lockdown.

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