D&D London announce strong performances across the board as they plan to stockpile for Brexit
• Overall revenues for 4 weeks to 31 December +11% on prior year
• UK like for like revenues + 6%
• Strong performances from established City venues – South Place Hotel +16% – Paternoster chop House +14%
• Strong performances from established West End venues – Orrery +22% – Aster +19% – Launceston Place +14%
• Very successful month for our more recently opened venues – German Gymnasium +12% – 20 Stories, Manchester £1m+ revenue in its first December
• Christmas Day like for like revenues +20%
• Robust trading at overseas venues – Alcazar, Paris +16% – Bluebird London, NYC Very successful first December, since opening in September
Des Gunewardena, Chairman and CEO of D&D London commented “For the full month of December, six of our venues achieved £1m+ net revenues.
“Quaglino’s and 100 Wardour street, our highest grossing restaurants, each achieving net revenues in excess of £1.4m.
“In the context of Brexit and uncertain financial markets it was rather a better than expected Christmas.”
GS Magazine had the opportunity earlier today to ask Des Gunewardena (pictured) what he believes are the reasons behind this strong performance.
GS Magazine: Did you do anything specifically within the group to help improve December sales?
Des Gunewardena (DG): We always spend quite a lot of time and money on making our restaurants look beautiful with Christmas installations. We had an even bigger focus on that this year. It felt like we had as many ski chalets in D&D this year as in a small Alpine resort! Otherwise it’s been what we do every Christmas with Christmas menus, managing our venues so they can deal properly with parties and so on.
GS: Why is the casual dining market in general struggling at present?
DG: Casual dining is affected more than high end dining by oversupply of restaurants and the rise of home delivery. For your company Christmas party you could have ordered in some luxury pizzas on Deliveroo. But it’s not quite the same as a big night out at Quaglino’s!
GS: Your annual January ‘deals’ with the London Evening Standard start today. How popular are they and do you have evidence to show they are generating increased profit as well as increased sales?
DG: We’ve been doing the ES promotion for many years. It’s our equivalent of retailers’ January sales. It is not a big profit generator but keeps our restaurants busy in what is otherwise a quiet time of year.
20 Stories, Manchester
GS: Aside from D&D, which other restaurant businesses do you think will do well in 2019 and why?
DG: I think both at the top end and in casual dining, restaurants that offer a differentiated high quality experience at a fair price will continue to do well. Restaurants that are “so-so” will struggle. When times are tough there is always a flight to quality and to value.
GS: Are you planning any new restaurant openings for 2019?
DG: In 2019 we will open Queensyard, our second restaurant in New York, and later in the year we launch our rooftop restaurant at Fenchurch Street in London. We will also shortly announce a new restaurant to open later in 2019 in a regional UK city.
GS: What plans are you putting in place to prepare for Brexit?
DG: We’ve made plans to resource from the UK/countries outside the EU food currently coming from EU. We have also planned to build stocks of wine from France, Italy and other EU countries. We hope very much that we will not need to activate these plans.
German Gymnasium, King’s Cross
D&D London owns and operates restaurants in London, Leeds, Paris, New York and Tokyo and the 80 bedroom South Place Hotel in London.