Could Local Byron Burger Be For The Chop?

Uncertain future for gourmet burger chain which has closed some London branches

Byron Burgers on Chiswick High Road. Picture: Google Streetview


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Byron the upmarket hamburger restaurant chain appears to be in difficulties, with reports that it is up for sale.

The Chiswick branch opened in 2014 on the site of the former Cafe Rouge on the High Road. Sky News reported recently that the chain could be sold off at a knock down price with thirteen of its stores currently loss-making. The trading position of the local store is not known and, although it appears to have a reasonable turnover it is thought high rent and rates may make it very challenging to be profitable at the location.

Sky said that the 74-site group was contemplating a sale for just £25 million, and speculated it could be the first major casual dining casualty in the industry, post-Brexit. Investment company Hutton Collins purchased the chain in 2013 for over £100 million when it was put on the market by Gondola (owners of Pizza Express, Ask and Zizzi). It now employs over 1800 people, having doubled in size since that purchase.

It said R Capital, which specialises in buying troubled businesses, was one of a number of potential buyers to hold talks with the chain's owners and management.

Earlier this year the company closed four under-performing sites and last month Byronís investors hired management firm KPMG to undertake a strategic review and assess the short and medium term options for the business.

The chain has branches in London as well as in Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Kent, and Oxford. In 2013 they posted profits of over £8million.

Byron was set up after Tom Byng spent a four year stint in America as a student where he "ate enough hamburgers to sink the Titanic". When he returned to London in 2007, he felt there weren't any restaurants offering burgers like those at his favourite American diner, The Silver Top. He is sometimes referred to as the "bourgeois Burger King".

The restaurant was named partly after the poet, and partly because 'byron' is Old English for cowshed.

Byron have not commented on the reports.

December 23, 2017

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