The Daily Telegraph

Byron Burgers to close half its restaurant­s in rescue deal

- By Daniel Woolfson

BYRON Burgers is to close nearly half its remaining restaurant­s after being bought out of administra­tion.

The burger chain has been sold in a pre-pack agreement to Tristar Foods. The rescue deal will reduce its restaurant estate from 21 to 12 sites with the loss of 218 jobs.

Parent company Famously Proper called in the administra­tors after a year marked by “significan­t challenges”, such as rising costs for ingredient­s and energy.

It also suffered from shoppers cutting back amid the cost of living crisis.

Claire Winder, managing director at Interpath Advisory, which oversaw the sale, said: “Like many other companies across the hospitalit­y sector, Byron had seen a boost in trading following the end of the Covid lockdown measures.

“However, the sky-high inflation in 2022 saw costs spiral and resulted in reduced customer spend, which in turn placed significan­t cash flow pressure on the business.”

The chain’s pricey burgers sparked controvers­y in 2013 when George Osborne, chancellor at the time, tweeted a picture of himself eating one the evening before a spending review. He was accused of being out of touch by social media users over the cost of the burger, which rang in at £6.75 compared with a Mcdonald’s option at 99p.

At its peak, Byron generated £90m in sales per year and ran about 70 restaurant­s across the UK, having grown rapidly with the help of private equity cash.

But since 2018 it has struggled to find a place in the market and then the wider hospitalit­y industry was battered by Covid. Byron was forced to close 19 sites

‘Sky-high inflation in 2022 saw costs spiral and resulted in reduced customer spend’

in 2018 and enter into a company voluntary arrangemen­t with creditors amid rising food price inflation, higher payrolls because of the introducti­on of the minimum wage and apprentice­ship levy, as well as waning interest in its propositio­n. In 2020 it ran aground again when the pandemic shuttered restaurant­s across the UK and was bought by Famously Proper. It will retain 365 jobs with the rescue deal.

Ms Winder said: “We are pleased to have concluded this transactio­n, which will see the Byron name continue to trade on high streets.”

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