The pandemic has had many casualties in the hospitality industry and Byron Burger is the latest to be saved from complete collapse. The restaurant chain lined up administrators last month in a bid to save the business. The move was successful – but it will mean more than half of its restaurants will permanently close.
The news was revealed on Friday following talks in a process known as a pre-pack administration.
The chain had started a sale process with administrators at KPMG, but has now been sold to new owner Calverton UK.
But while the rescue deal is good news for the brand, only 20 restaurants will remain open following the sale.
The company currently employs around 1,200 staff across its 51 UK branches.
However, the news means that 651 jobs will be lost with more than half of the chain’s staff being made redundant.
In a statement, Will Wright, an administrator at KPMG, said: “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.”
The chain was hit hard by the pandemic and had previously warned that it was unlikely a new buyer would want to take on all of its sites.
Some restaurants had already closed due to the effects of the coronavirus on the economy.
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Founded in 2007, it’s not the first time the burger chain had struggled financially.
Byron had already closed ten of its restaurants in a restructure following its sale to private equity owners Three Hills Capital in 2017.
The chain’s existing investors will now take a minority stake in the business following the rescue deal, according to reports.
Meanwhile the new owners hope to make the most of the 20 restaurants that will remain on the high street.
Sandeep Vyas, of new buyers 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.
“We will continue to bring Byron’s great tasting food to customers in restaurants and via digital on-demand platforms, whether they are at work, home or on the high street and we look forward to working with the team.”
The chain had recently reopened some of its restaurants for customers to order on Deliveroo during the lockdown.
The company isn’t the only restaurant chain to be hit hard by the pandemic, with the owner of Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas closing 91 sites in recent months.
Pizza Express, Ask Italian and Zizzi have also been affected and had to close some restaurants permanently following the initial lockdown.
The government has recently announced an Eat Out to Help Out scheme designed to get Britons back to their local restaurants to support the industry.
The new scheme allows businesses to offer up to £10 off per person when they eat out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
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