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Byron Burger Shields Itself From Paying People It Owes While Scrambling for a Buyer

The brand is once again facing an uncertain future

Byron Burger’s new burger menu, including the “new Byron” burger, fries, crisps, and Byron beer Byron Burger [Official Photo]

Byron Burger is once at a crossroads: The burger chain has appointed administrators to protect itself from paying creditors, while current majority shareholder Three Hills Capital Partners desperately seeks a buyer. Creditors are organisations and people to which Byron owes money; companies appoint administrators when their financial situation prevents them from paying their creditors. Measures that administrators may take do not always include complete closure.

The chain is confident of making a deal, according to Sky News, which would likely be what is called a “pre-pack.” A proportion of assets, in this case restaurants and the brand attached to them, could be sold to a buyer. Any restaurants not included in the sale would close, while it’s also possible that only the Byron brand, or the contents of the kitchens and dining rooms — could be sold in isolation. The company currently employs around 1,200 people, across 51 restaurants.

Byron made its plans to sell public last month, unable to withstand the pressures of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Positive financial results had suggested that its measures to improve the restaurants, from slashing rents to the planned refurbishing of its entire estate, had been a success. Byron has spent the last nine months reimagining its restaurants, menu, and logo in a bid to resurrect its fortunes, which plummeted in the midst of the “casual dining crunch” in 2018. It had already lost swathes of the public by organising a fake staff meeting in order to turn undocumented workers over to the Home Office, which was at the time working under Theresa May’s “hostile environment.”

Before total reimagination, came a series of errors: the strange “Classic flex” burger, a patty made from 70 percent beef, 30 percent mushrooms, proving a flop. Those misfires prompted a £10 million investment and the hiring of prominent chef Sophie Michell to oversee the new menus. It seems, at this stage, that a deal will be struck — it’s just not yet clear whether or not Byron Burger, as it exists now, has a place in it.