Fred Smith has stepped down as head of food at Byron, to join Flat Iron, the Piper-backed, ‘single-steak’ dining concept, MCA has learnt.
Smith, who joined the 71-strong Byron in March 2013, will return to Flat Iron this July to take up a new role as head of beef.
Flat Iron founder Charlie Carroll said: “I am incredibly excited that Fred is heading back to be part of our story once again. He helped me to open our first permanent restaurant in Soho and we are very lucky to have him coming back onto the team. When I first met Fred his passion for great beef was obvious so I’m delighted that he’ll joining our group head chef Yuriy Kachak and myself working on sourcing, farming and tasting.”
Last month, Piper completed a deal to take a significant minority stake in Flat Iron, which is thought to value the concept at over £20m.
The private equity firm, which currently also backs Turtle Bay, Be At One and Hickory’s, is making a £10m investment in Flat Iron.
It will also allow necessary funding to build Flat Iron’s existing team and enable further units to open in and around London, at an initial pace of around two or three openings a year. MCA understands that the group’s four sites are currently generating average weekly sales of c£210k combined.
Carroll, who founded the concept in 2012 as a pop-up above the Owl & Pussycat pub in Shoreditch, retains a controlling stake in the business and remains as managing director.
Flat Iron currently has four London sites (Soho, Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden and Shoreditch) with two due to open later this year – on the former John Doe restaurant in Golborne Road, Kensington in May, followed by an opening in Caledonian Road, King’s Cross.
Smith’s departure from Byron follows that of Marc Balding, who recently stepped down as property director after nearly four years with Byron.
Last November, the group announced the departure of founder and chief executive Tom Byng. Byng officially left the business at the start of the year, but remains a shareholder and will continue his involvement with Byron as an advisor to the board.
He was succeeded as chief executive by Andrew Manders, former managing director of the Fired Earth retail chain, with Dalton Philips, the former chief executive of supermarket chain Wm Morrison, becoming non-executive chairman.