The latest trading report from UK-based restaurant group D&D London shows that company earnings are up by 22% in the 15 months of trading, since it reopened its restaurants post-lockdown.
While revenue was down by 10% to £163m (£143m of which was generated by UK-based venues) earnings increased to £17m.
D&D London is one of the biggest restaurant groups in the UK, comprising 45 diverse restaurants, bars and one hotel located across London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and further afield in Paris and New York.
D&D London restaurants outside of London have seen a particularly strong increase in trading since reopening in April 2021 compared to their pre-Covid performances, with restaurants including 20 Stories in Manchester and Issho, East 59th, Crafthouse and Angelica in Leeds performing especially well.
However, this is not the case in Central London where restaurants have been slower to bounce back. Disregarding the impact of the Jubilee weekend and transport strikes, trading here has recovered to around 100%-105% of pre-pandemic levels.
Several external factors have influenced these figures. The Omicron variant, at its peak from December to February, and transport strikes in June caused setbacks to profits, especially in London. Inflation is also a significant factor, however much of its impact is neutralised due to increased average spends.
London venues are proving to be far more sensitive to external factors. For example, during the two-day heatwave in July, revenue across D&D's London restaurants dropped by 30%, whereas Manchester and Leeds reported a 10% increase in revenue.
Despite these external factors, D&D is showing no signs of slowing down. October will see the opening of a new site - Orelle - on the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row in Birmingham, while new projects are underway involving new openings in the UK, USA and several European cities.
Des Gunewardena, Chairman and CEO of D&D London commented: 'Six months ago Omicron and the swift return of workers to central London and New York were our biggest concerns. Now our major challenges are cost inflation and the continuing need for more staff as revenues bounce back. Initiatives to attract and retain the best people and providing them with tools to manage their restaurants better are what dominate our agenda. More positively our customers are spending well and I am confident will continue to do so through the summer. Our revenues in central London have however been hit by transport strikes which will continue to have a negative impact on our business until the dispute is settled.
Looking ahead we have the opportunity to significantly scale up the business both in the UK and overseas. And we will do so. But we will manage the pace of expansion in the context of what remains an uncertain economic backdrop.'
In other restaurant news, Jeremy Clarkson's Diddly Squat Restaurant - on the Diddly Squat farm that has been the setting of Amazon's Clarkson’s Farm TV series - is open for business. Find out more about Diddly Squat Restaurant here.