Nine Byron Burger restaurants will close at the cost of 218 jobs, as the beleaguered burger chain flips itself out of administration. One London restaurant, in Wembley, is among the nine, with the remaining restaurants in London staying open.
A new company called Tristar Foods has bought the surviving 12 Byron Burger restaurants. Tristar is run by Sandeep Vyas, who is also the co-founder of Calveton: the investment vehicle that put Byron into administration in the first place.
Administrators Claire Winder and Chris Pole, from Interpath Advisory, issued a statement on the sale detailing “significant challenges to trading, driven by rising costs, principally food and utilities, together with a reduction in customer spending as a result of the current cost-of-living crisis.”
It is the third restructuring in four years for the beleaguered chain, which is less a victim of circumstance and more of a long-running game of private equity firms playing pass the parcel with its assets and perceived value. At its peak in 2013, one such firm, Hutton Collins, paid £100 million for Byron; by 2020, when new owner Three Hills Capital auctioned it off to Calveton, the fee was just £4 million.
Byron was most famous first for opening a chain whose restaurants had their own identities, and then for assisting the Home Office in an ambush immigration raid on its own employees. And though its story is specific, it is far from unfamiliar, with fellow chains Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Carluccio’s, and Pizza Express all subject to the same aggressive expansion, debt-leveraged buyouts from private equity firms, and ensuing closures and job losses when the music stops on the pass-the-parcel.