Restaurants chain D&D is hit by stay at home workers

Upmarket chain D&D has warned its restaurants in the City of London are trading at half pre-lockdown levels because offices are ‘pretty empty’. 

In a further sign of the damage the working from home culture is having on the economy, it said central London ‘has been our toughest market’ with the Square Mile suffering badly. 

Dozens of major employers have said staff can remain at home for months to come, raising fears for restaurants, pubs and sandwich chains, dry cleaners and theatres. 

Stay at home: Dozens of major employers have said staff can remain at home for months to come

Stay at home: Dozens of major employers have said staff can remain at home for months to come

Stay at home: Dozens of major employers have said staff can remain at home for months to come

However, D&D said restaurants in residential areas of London, such as Chelsea, are doing better, as workers stay home rather than commute. 

It also said sites in Manchester and Leeds were doing well, and now plans to open its remaining 15 restaurants, having resumed trading at the other 17 over the last seven weeks. 

D&D’s chief executive Des Gunewardena said: ‘Central London has been our toughest market – currently trading only at 50 per cent to 60 per cent 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 trading ahead of last year.’ 

It was ‘significantly boosted’ by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which gives diners up to £10 off from Monday to Wednesday. Revenues at the start of the week doubled in August helping to push weekly revenues up by close to a fifth. 

Across the hospitality industry just one in 16 cafes, bars and restaurants is confident about growing sales this summer, says a report by Barclays Bank. On average, businesses are predicting 41 per cent year-on-year decline in sales, with two-fifths being kept afloat by a ‘lifeline’ VAT cut. 

Restaurants are braced for the end of Eat Out and face a rise in wage costs as furlough is partially removed from September 1, ending on October 31. 

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