Tackling the rent issue, Gunewardena says that the restaurants need support both now and in the future in order to survive.
“The bigger picture for the business it will need rental support right through the lockdown and also through the recovery phase,” he says.
He also believes the pandemic will be a catalyst for the change in the commercial relationship between landlords and tenants.
“There was already quite a big change going on before lockdown, the restaurant industry had had CVAs and tenants that were struggling and the landlords had started to recognise the fact that things had got to change - and Coronavirus will now accelerate that.
“What we’re going to see in the future is way more turnover rents, and way fewer institutional leases where you have a base rent and it goes up every five years. I think that’s going to be ancient history.”
On the challenges of having to operate with physical distancing measure in place, Thakrar says that Dishoom has done some modelling in this area and acknowledges that it will make a tough environment in which to operate. Yet he says he is also determined to make it work.
“It’s going to be hard. I’d like to think the physically distanced Dishoom is still a fantastic experience - we’ll have masks, maybe Perspex screens and ordering will be different, but the music will be good, and the food will taste delicious.
“It will still be an escape into another world.”
To watch the first video in The Future of Restaurants series, click here