Gerry Ford, founder and chairman of Caffè Nero, has joined the board of Byron, after his private equity group Palladin confirmed it had invested £5m in the Tom Byng-led chain.

Paladin co-invested alongside Hutton Collins in the £100m acquisition of the 36-strong Byron from Gondola last November.

Ford serves on numerous boards in the consumer goods space and has more than 20 years’ experience helping smaller growth businesses.

Paladin has investments in a variety of other food and beverage businesses including Caffè Nero, Rex Restaurants and Domino’s Pizza Poland.

Eric Bellquist, partner at Hutton Collins said: “We are delighted to be investing in such a pioneering brand and to have such a knowledgeable entrepreneur and industry leader investing alongside us. Dr. Ford’s experience in multi site retail roll outs will complement the management team’s capability and vision as well as Hutton Collins’s long experience of generating attractive investment returns in the casual dining and leisure sectors. Byron has a clear road map for growth, a talented team in place to deliver it and we welcome Dr. Ford to the board.”

Byng said: As we embark on the next stage of growth, we’re delighted to welcome Gerry Ford to the Board. His experience of building and advising high growth consumer businesses will prove invaluable as we continue on our quest to turn the UK into a nation of ‘proper hamburger’ lovers .

Ford, managing partner at Paladin said: “Byron is the market leader in the high growth category of premium hamburgers.  I believe Byron has a real opportunity to develop much further in the UK as this category opens up throughout the country. I am very happy to be assisting Tom and his team and working alongside Hutton Collins on this investment.”

Byron has secured further sites in Chiswick and Clapham Common for openings this year.

Further openings in the next nine months have been also confirmed for Leeds, York Milton Keynes, Langham Place, Shoreditch and the Strand. It has also secured a further unit in Chelmsford for an opening next year.