D&D London 'confident for the future despite undoubted challenges'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

D&D London 'confident for the future despite undoubted challenges'

Related tags: D&d london, Restaurant, Coronavirus

High-end restaurant group D&D London says it is 'confident about the future despite the undoubted challenges ahead'.

It comes as the group sets out its plan to have its entire UK estate reopen by Thursday 10 September.

D&D London previously reopened 17 select sites in London, Manchester and Leeds on 4 July, primarily ones with outdoor terraces or set in residential areas, following the lifting of lockdown restrictions on the hospitality sector in England.

The second phase of its strategy will launch this Friday (28 August), and see the balance of its UK estate reopen over a two-week period. 

This will primarily be focused on D&D's venues in the City and West End, including a number of its highest profile restaurants such as Quaglino’s and 100 Wardour Street.

Setting out the group's strategy going forward, D&D London chairman and CEO Des Gunewardena says trading since reopening has been 'well above expectations'.

He notes that the Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme has 'significantly boosted' takings in August, and resulted in Monday to Wednesday revenues doubling.

Overall, weekly revenues have risen some 15-20% as a result of the initiative.

"Central London has been our toughest market with our City restaurants currently trading only at 50-60% of prior levels," he says.

"But, in the context of City offices still remaining pretty empty, we are relieved to be achieving those levels.

"We’ve performed much better in London residential areas such as Chelsea and in Manchester & Leeds where we are currently trading ahead of last year – despite Covid restrictions."

Gunewardena continues that while the economics of operating restaurants at lower than normal revenues are very challenging, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme coupled with the Government's cut in VAT for the hospitality sector have been 'a huge help'.

Many of the group's landlords have granted rent free periods during lockdown, and concessionary rents during the post-Covid recovery phase.

He adds that while some of the group's rental agreements were already based on turnover, many more have been restructured to be turnover-based going forwards.

D&D currently has more than 40 restaurants worldwide, principally in London, but also with locations in Leeds, Manchester, Paris and New York.

"The business is in a strong financial position as we move into the next phase of reopening," says Gunewardena.

"Our cash position has been strengthened by the injection of funds by both shareholders and our banks.

"We have not applied for government loans in the UK, but have secured state backed Covid loans for our operations in Paris and New York.

"Overall D&D is in good shape and we are confident about the future despite the undoubted challenges ahead.”

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