Two administrators from the accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward have taken over at Aberdeen Steak Houses Group in an attempt to either pull it out of its cash flow crisis or find a buyer.

The steak chain, which started to experience cash flow difficulties during the BSE scare, was then hit by the fall in overseas visitors to the UK as a result of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the events of September 11 last year.

The company currently runs 21 outlets in central London, including Aberdeen Steak House, Angus Steak House and American Cafe Burger and has a turnover of just over £6.5m.

Shay Bannon, one of the joint administrators from BDO, said he hoped the administration would provide Aberdeen Steak Houses with enough breathing space to recover losses and seek out fresh finance.

He said: "Increased competition in the restaurant sector, consumer pressure for new dining experiences and a drop in tourism in the UK have severely impacted on Aberdeen Steak Houses' growth in the past few years.

"However, we believe that the company is in a position to trade as normal, which will give us and the directors an opportunity to review the business strategy. We are currently looking at ways to refinance the business, or alternatively we may sell the business if an acceptable offer is received."