EXCLUSIVE: Byron vows “complete overhaul” of restaurant offer as new management team bids to put troubles behind it

Byron Hamburgers – one of the first chains to implement a CVA following the downturn in the casual dining market last year – is hatching a “comprehensive operational turnaround plan” now that its financial restructuring is complete.

A new management team has been recruited to bring significant “sector and change management expertise” to the company after it shuttered 17 stores earlier this year and reduced the rent on a further five sites.

And in its latest financial accounts, which were filed with Companies House this week and reveal it incurred a pre-tax loss of £55m, the chain revealed it is looking to implementing a series of business improvement measures to drive it forward after the turmoil.

The company acknowledged that the sector still faces “difficult market conditions” but noted that it has carried out a significant amount of strategic research to identify key consumer needs in the premium burger category and the most effective ways for the business to meet these needs.

Initiatives it has planned include a “complete overhaul” of its offer, through design, menu, service and experience, a review of its current supply chain practices for both in-house and outsourced products to reduce its cost base, and the introduction of new tools to support labour management and reduce costs.

The firm said that its takeaway and delivery offerings will receive additional marketing support to drive a greater share of the growing demand.

In the report, approved by the Byron board last week and signed off by managing director Simon Cope, the company stated: “Now that the financial restructuring has been completed, the business is turning its attention to achieving operational excellence, evolving the Byron brand and continuing its journey to turn the UK into a nation of ‘proper hamburger lovers’ by innovating in its current restaurants as well as opening further restaurants across the UK.”

Back in February, a financial restructuring saw £34.5m of investment pumped into Byron by way of subscription for new unsecured loan notes issued by the company. £25m of that figure was used to pay the group’s external bank lenders as a full and final settlement of the outstanding balance of approximately £46m, with the balance used for general corporate purposes.

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