Byron Burger hits choppy waters: Here's five reasons why

Byron burger could be set to close up to 20 restaurants as part of a financial rescue proposal, according to accountancy firm KPMG.

The firm, which has more than 70 outlets, is one of several chains that took the burger restaurant upmarket, becoming a stand-out name within the UK’s casual dining sector has consumers ditched Maccies for more upmarket joints.

But the restaurant chain has hit choppy waters with planned proposals of a restructuring to be carried out under a so-called company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

The arrangement will seek to “strike a balance which provides a fair compromise to landlords, while allowing the viable part of the business to move forward across a smaller, more profitable core estate”, a KPMG spokesperson says.

Here’s 5 reasons why the wheels may have come off for Byron burger:

1. The Economy 

Whisper it quietly, but Britain’s soaring Brexit costs could have hit Byron’s burgers with a bang. Higher food costs and weak consumer confidence have been blamed for its struggling performances, something we might want to expect a lot more of as negotiations with the EU plod on.

2. Competition 

Clearly rattled by the emergence of firms such as Bryon, high street chains such as McDonald’s have upped their game in order to cash in on the expanding market. The fast food outlet has completely remodelled the business to compete with up-market alternatives, and it’s clearly worked – last quarter McD’s served up surging sales and profits.

3. Shift in taste 

Gourmet burgers were a big deal five years ago, now the market is so saturated they border on bland. Byron was born into a golden era for burgers, with an explosion out outlets such as Honest, Patty & Bun and GBK also riding the wave. Since then the market has moved on, and invariably some players will get left behind.

4. Bad PR 

#BoycottByron became a viral hashtag in 2016 which would have caused some damage. The campaign to boycott the chain came after dozens of workers were arrested in an “intelligence led” raid by immigration officials. Staff were lured into thinking they were attending a training day – only to discover the meeting was about their right to work in the UK.

5. It stopped being new

Axiomatic I know, but a lot of Byron’s charm centred around it being new and fresh. You only need to look at the exterior and interior in their restaurants to see how important “being cool” is to the brand, but cool often has a shelf life, and they are clearly reaching theirs.

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