Byron brings in Wagamama guru to lead food development

Simon Cope, managing director

Byron Hamburgers has appointed former Wagamama man Simon Cope as its managing director and will task him with leading the next stage of the brand’s “evolution”.

Cope was global brand director at Wagamama and is credited with playing a significant role in the turnaround that has seen double-digit like-for-like growth for the last three consecutive years.

Like Byron, Wagamama is also owned by investment firm Hutton Collins Partners.

Cope will join Byron in July and sit on the executive board. His focus will be on marketing, food development and property. He will report to acting executive chairman, Dalton Philips, until the search for a new CEO is complete.

Cope said: “As the pioneers of proper hamburgers in the UK, Byron is uniquely well placed to take advantage of the significant growth opportunity that exists for premium brands in the UK’s casual dining market. I’m delighted to be joining such an inspirational team, helping to build Byron’s future at this exciting time.”

Dalton Philips, acting executive chairman, added: “I’m thrilled that Simon’s joining the team. Coming from within the Hutton Collins family, he brings with him a wealth of experience and great ideas, with a first class track record of delivery. He knows this sector inside out, and we’re delighted he’s joining the team. I’m really looking forward to working with him as we continue to grow the business.”

Hutton Collins invested in Byron in 2013, in a transaction worth £100m.

Earlier this year founder Tom Byng left the business to pursue new ventures. He led the company through 10 years of growth in which it served more than 24 million hamburgers and opened 70 sites.

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