The fate of stricken burger chain Byron will be decided this week when creditors vote on a proposed restructuring package which could spark hundreds of job losses.
Byron, which has restaurants in Leeds, York and Harrogate, has tabled a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in an attempt to shore up its financial position by allowing it to close loss-making restaurants and secure deep discounts on rental costs.
Around 20 restaurants could be closed as part of the process, as Byron’s owners attempt to stave off its decline in the casual dining sector.
If the CVA is to succeed, the burger chain’s plans would need 75 per cent backing from creditors, which include landlords, during a vote on Wednesday.
Mark Edwards, BDO partner, said Byron has been forced to re-trench because its expansion was too hasty.
He said: “When restaurant groups (such as Byron) go and expand very quickly, there is always a risk some of those sites will be marginal sites.
“However, the sector as a whole is struggling. There are some operators that are more successful than others such as Honest Burger, which has a different take and is London-centric.
“My personal view is that when you look at the UK’s eating habits, there are fewer visits to eat out over the last few months, but not cooking at home is embedded in British culture and I don’t see that changing. People are maybe not eating out as often, but when they do, they tend to spend a bit more.”
As part of the sale process linked to the Byron restructuring, investment house Three Hills Capital Partners would become the biggest shareholder by snapping up half of Hutton Collins’ stake.
KPMG, which is handling the CVA, said no restaurants would close on day one of the process and employees, suppliers and business rates would be paid on time and in full.