Burger chain Byron is to permanently shut 31 restaurants with the loss of 651 jobs, despite the restaurant brand being rescued from administration.
The restaurant chain is to shut more than half of its 51 sites after becoming the latest dining business to be hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Administrators at KPMG said that the brand and certain assets have been sold to newly-formed company Calveton, in a move which will protect its 20 remaining sites and 551 employees.
KPMG said the dining chain’s existing investors will also take a minority stake as part of the deal.
Byron, which was founded in 2007, undertook a major restructuring in 2018 to wipe out its debts and close underperforming restaurants.
It is now the latest chain to take decisive action, with Zizzi owner Azzurri closing 75 sites and Cafe Rouge owner Casual Dining Group closing 91 restaurants in recent weeks.
Will Wright, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “In common with so many other companies across the leisure and casual dining industries, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Byron has been profound.
“After exploring a number of options to safeguard the future of the business and following a competitive sales process, this transaction ensures Byron will continue to have a presence on our high streets.”
Steve Absolom, partner at KPMG and fellow joint administrator, said: “It is always a regrettable outcome when hard-working people lose their jobs and so our focus now will be on providing those employees affected by redundancy with the support they need at this difficult time.”
Sandeep Vyas of Calveton said: “Byron is a pioneering brand much loved by customers across the UK.
“We are backing Byron because we believe it has great opportunity ahead of it, and it is well placed to adapt to the new consumer environment and dining trends.
“We will continue to bring Byron’s great tasting food to customers in restaurants and via digital on-demand platforms, whether they are at work, home or on the high street and we look forward to working with the team.”