Hospitality operators began reopening their businesses for outside dining from this morning – some for the first time since December – with many keeping as much of an eye on the weather forecast as anything else.
Restaurant operator D&D London has created dedicated outdoor areas at a large number of its sites, including Bluebird Cafe, Coq D’Argent and German Gymnasium, and is fully booked for this week.
It has more than 90,000 bookings for its terraces, which have a combined capacity of 1,000 covers, although it plans to keep a proportion of tables back for walk-in customers.
CEO and co-founder, Des Gunewardena, said: “I’m delighted at the response we’ve seen regarding reservations for reopening week and onwards. We’re basically fully booked for the whole week – let’s just hope the weather holds out!
“We’re launching the 14 Hills roof terrace this week coming for the first time which is something I’m particularly excited about. The views across the city are stunning, such a beautiful spot for dinner and drinks with long lost friends. I know the staff are ready and raring to go, fingers crossed all goes to plan.”
On the South Coast, the Rick Stein Restaurant Group is opening outdoor areas at seven sites, with its Sandbanks restaurant already fully booked.
Chef director Jack Stein said it is expecting more than 5,000 people to dine with it this week alone.
“I’m so excited to get a few of the kitchens and outdoor areas back open for business and crossing everything for great weather! We’ve got strong booking numbers for the opening week and building up to indoor dining also coming back. Hopefully we see customer loyalty with bookings and no issues with no-shows.”
Marcos Fernandez Pardo, managing director of Arros and Iberica restaurants in London, said it is fully booked for today and although it does have space for walk-ins it is trying to encourage bookings in advance.
“We prefer people to book as it will help with the track and trace as well as the management of flow in the restaurant,” he explained.
“We strongly believe in not letting our guard down until we are well out of the woods, something that is easier for us because of the size of our restaurants, with high ceilings and efficient air replacement systems that replace all the air inside 21 times an hour, every hour.”