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London-based fried chicken chain Bird explores restructure options

Joanna Bourke

Hipster fried-chicken chain Bird on Tuesday claimed bank lending for restaurants has dried up, as it weighed up restructuring plans in a bid to avoid administration.

Bird, which has five branches including Shoreditch and Holloway Road, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

The move gives the company, which is working with shareholders and restructuring experts BM Advisory, up to four weeks to come up with a plan to better stabilise the business following cashflow problems.

Paul Hemings, who co-founded Bird with his wife in 2014, said options included securing new investment, a company voluntary arrangement with creditor approval, or a pre-pack sale.

He said one of these agreements is “imminent” and he expects a successful conclusion to the process.

He added trading has been good, with solid growth, but claimed cashflow problems started when Metro Bank withdrew its overdraft ahead of a new branch opening last year. Metro declined to comment.

Hemings said: “The bank funding market for small businesses, particularly restaurants, has effectively shut down which has had a huge effect across the sector.”