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D&D to reinstate rest of dining portfolio

D&D London

D&D is to reopen the balance of its portfolio of UK restaurants, as well as the South Place Hotel.

The venues will open their doors on various dates between 28 August and 10 September.

D&D’s strategy has been to reopen its restaurants in phases. Phase 1 involved reopening 17 venues in London, Leeds and Manchester – most with outdoor terraces or in residential areas. Phase 2 reopening will comprise the balance of its venues in the City of London and the West End, including a number of its highest profile restaurants such as Quaglino’s and 100 Wardour Street.

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The venues to reopen and their opening dates comprise: 100 Wardour Street (28 Aug), Quaglino’s (28 Aug), Avenue (2 Sept), Bluebird White City (2 Sept), Launceston Place (2 Sept), Sartoria (2 Sept), The Modern Pantry (2 Sept), Aster (2 Sept), Plateau (2 Sept), New Street Grill (2 Sept), Fish Market (2 Sept), Old Bengal Bar (2 Sept), New Street Wine (3 Sept), South Place Hotel (3 Sept), South Place Chophouse (3 Sept) and Angler (10 Sept).

Des Gunewardena, D&D chairman and CEO, commented: “We’ve been pleased by July and August trading which have been well above expectations. August has been significantly boosted by the governments Eat Out To Help Out (EOTHO) scheme. The scheme has resulted in Monday to Wednesday revenues doubling. Net of some cannibalisation of revenues later in the week, 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. 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 and Leeds where we are currently trading ahead of last year – despite Covid restrictions.”

He continued: “Our restaurants have all followed government Covid safety guidelines provided by the government, industry bodies and safety consultants, and our customers have given us unequivocally positive feedback that they feel safe in our venues and that our procedures are not detrimental to their dining experience.

“The economics of operating restaurants at lower than normal revenues are very challenging. But the government EOTHO scheme and cut in VAT have been a huge help. Our landlords, not only in the UK but also in New York and Paris, have mainly been extremely supportive on rents. Most have granted rent-free periods during lockdown and concessionary rents during the post Covid recovery phase. Many of our rents are turnover-based and many more have been restructured to be turnover-based going forwards.”

Gunewardena concluded: “The business is in a strong financial position as we move into the next phase of reopening. 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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