Byron Burger set to enter administration to prevent collapse

29 June 2020, 19:29

Byron Burger is on the brink of collapse as it seeks a buyer
Byron Burger is on the brink of collapse as it seeks a buyer. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Burger chain Byron has filed a notice to appoint administrators as it seeks a rescue deal from a buyer who can save it from collapse.

The company, owned by private equity firm Three Hills, employs around 1,200 staff and has 51 restaurants across the UK.

It is understood to be in talks with three potential buyers to stave off collapse and provide protection from creditors, in a so-called “pre-pack” administration deal.

Sources told Sky News that Byron believes a deal is likely in the coming weeks.

Accountancy firm KPMG was unsuccessful in trying to sell the company in early May after its sites shut following the coronavirus lockdown.

The chain, founded by Tom Byng in 2007, launched a Company’s Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring deal, which saw the closure of 10 sites and reduced rents.

Read more: Frankie and Benny's closing 125 restaurants while cutting up to 3,000 jobs

Read more: Travelodge strikes deal with landlords to save 10,000 jobs

It is understood the company intends to begin the phased reopening of sites next month.

The hospitality sector has been particularly ravaged by the pandemic, with restaurants shuttered since March and only beginning to reopen again from 4 July onwards.

Industry leaders are fearful that the impact on consumer confidence could cause long-term ruin for businesses.

The Casual Dining Group, which owns Las Iguanas and Café Rouge, has filed notices of intention to appoint administrators.

Read more: Shopping centre giant Intu collapses into administration

The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s, said its own rescue deal had been approved by creditors, meaning 160 outlets would remain open. But up to 3,000 jobs are to go as the group closes 125 restaurants, mainly at Frankie & Benny's.

The co-founder of Wahacca, a chain of Mexican restaurants, said earlier this month that the reopening process is “going to be hell” and sales could be down as much as 60 per cent.

“The reality is that people are not going to come back in their droves, they’re going to slowly build back that confidence,” he told the BBC.

Many smaller restaurant firms have struggled to access Treasury support schemes such as business support rates, and face tough times ahead as employers have to start contributing to the salaries of furloughed workers.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify