Burger chain Byron is edging towards administration after becoming the latest restaurant to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The company has filed a notice to appoint administrators from KPMG on Monday.
It is understood that the move, which was first reported by Sky News, will be used to provide protection from creditors as it holds detailed talks over a potential rescue sale.
Byron is now in talks with three potential buyers who are in contention to purchase the business in a possible pre-pack administration deal.
The majority of the restaurant chain’s 1,200 employees are currently on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Byron, which is backed by private equity firm Three Hills Capital Partners and has 51 outlets across the UK, is the latest brand to be hit by financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic and UK lockdown.
Last week shopping centre owner Intu fell into administration after failing to come to an agreement with its lenders, while Shoe Zone shut 20 stores and is carrying out a redundancy programme at its head office.
It is not the first time Byron has fallen into difficulty. Three Hills Capital Partners helped secure the chain’s survival in 2018 through a restructure to wipe out debt. It also closed a number of branches across the UK.
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Byron recently announced it is planning to reopen some of its sites for Deliveroo, but with a smaller menu than normal.
The chain’s Beak Street (Soho) and Lothian Road (Edinburgh) will open first, with other locations opening over the next few weeks.
It is planning to open up its branches more widely across the UK from mid-July.
Byron said it had put new hygiene and social distancing measures in place and was checking staff temperatures at the beginning of every shift, and providing PPE to employees.
Byron declined to comment on the reported administration.