Harden's survey result
The jury is still out on whether this once-trailblazing posh burger chain deserves to be saved, and indeed whether saving it is feasible. Having undergone a CVA in 2018, in June 2020 the chain brought in the administrators, who sold the brand to new owners Calveton. In the process, it lost 31 restaurants and 651 workers, leaving only 20 of Byron’s 51 branches open. In May 2021, it opened its first new branch in five years on the Wembley retail park and soon after announced a new CEO. Meanwhile our reporters are in two minds about the whole situation. Even fans can find it “formulaic” although they feel “it’s everything you need from a burger joint without trying too hard”. Critics, though, find “there’s not much to commend” in its current performance: “dreadful”.
This once-market-leading burger chain lost nearly 1/3 of its branches in 2018 and another 31 went in July 2020 leaving this familiar name just 20 sites? But despite plummeting ratings in the last survey it maintained a big following who wanted to see management succeed: the “formula may need a bit of refreshment”, they said, but “it’s a brand that does not deserve to be sneered at!” Perhaps looking forwards, post pandemic, the only way is up?
Will the July 2019 adoption of a vegan burger option help turn around the fortunes of this once-market-leading burger chain, which lost nearly 1/3 of its branches in 2018 during a much-publicised CVA (Company Voluntary Agreement)? Still-plummeting ratings suggest it still has a mountain to climb with reports of food that’s “not up to scratch” and “branches that seem unloved”. But even so, it maintains a big following who want to see management succeed: the “formula may need a bit of refreshment”, they say, but “it’s a brand that does not deserve to be sneered at!” HOLD THE FRONT PAGE: In August 2019, the chain took a dramatic further step towards a complete turnaround… a new logo!
“Once upon a time this chain of posh burger joints stood out from the pack”, but – in an ever-moving and competitive market – its troubles in Spring 2018 were well publicised, with five of its 39 restaurants within the M25 (and a total of 16 nationally) having closed. That said, while the view that it is “OK but nothing special” has become widespread nowadays, it still remains one of the most talked-about brands in the survey; ratings improved a smidgeon this year; and a fair few reporters feel that “the business may be in trouble, but the burgers are still the real deal”. Top Tip: “love the courgette fries”.
For 31 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).