D&D, Hawksmoor and Corbin & King temporarily close restaurants

The operators of restaurants including Coq d’Argent, The Wolseley and Brasserie Zédel, as well as steakhouse chain Hawksmoor, are temporarily closing their sites due to the coronavirus outbreak.

D&D, which operates 38 restaurants in the UK, closed all its restaurants temporarily last night, having already shuttered its sites in New York and Paris.

The restaurant operator, which is responsible for eateries in London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham said it needs to play its part in “defeating the spread of coronavirus”.

Des Gunewardena, chairman of D&D London, said: “We fully understand the need to play our part in defeating the spread of coronavirus and the safety of our staff and customers is of course of paramount importance.

“Nevertheless it is a desperately sad day for us and for other UK restaurants who also face closure. Our number one priority now is to work closely with government bodies to ensure that the welfare of our staff and their families is managed through this period of uncertainty. We hope the government steps up to the challenge.”

Yesterday, 17 March, the UK Chancellor extended the business rates holiday announced in last week’s budget to cover all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. He also said that for those businesses that have insurance policies which cover pandemics, that “the government action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy”.

Following the announcement, steak chain Hawksmoor, which has restaurants in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and New York, also decided to temporarily close its sites in light of the situation.

A statement from the restaurant group said it was the one of the “most difficult decisions” it has ever made.

It continued: “As of tomorrow (18 March) we will temporarily close all of the Hawksmoor restaurants – I feel that that is clearly what the government is advising us to do even if they are not mandating it. It is clearly in the interest of public health to do so and nothing is more important than that, in particular our responsibilities to the elderly and the vulnerable.

“I have also had to end the employment of some of the wonderful people who work at Hawksmoor. We have tried to treat those people as fairly as possible, paying full notice and we are trying to give them every guidance on how they can get extra support during these difficult times. We have also told them that what has happened today doesn’t prevent them in any way from being part of the company again in the future and we will stay in touch with them to offer any support and information we can.

“This enables us to make sure that Hawksmoor survives – not because of money or profit, but in order that the thing that we have all spent much of our professional lives building can go back to being a place where we can look after as many staff and customers as possible for years to come.

“We have made these difficult decisions in order to do what we can to protect the jobs of the hundreds of people we still employ during what may be a prolonged period of closure.

“To anyone else reading this, please do not judge any restaurateurs making different decisions and keeping their restaurants open, or people choosing to visit them. If they are open and going to restaurants it’s because the government has effectively said that that is OK, albeit in smaller numbers. They have their situation and we have ours.”

Hawksmoor thanked all its customers for their support, later tweeting that a regular had insisted on paying £260 for a £60 bill and another customer had cancelled their booking but paid a £50 service charge anyway.

Fellow restaurant group Corbin & King has also announced the closure of its restaurants, which include The Wolseley, The Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel, Crazy Coqs, Colbert, Café Wolseley, Fischer’s and Soutine.

A statement posted on Twitter read: “Corbin & King has closed its restaurants from March 17th until further notice. Under the circumstances, this move was inevitable. Our priority now is to look after our staff and ensure that we remain in the best possible shape, ready to re-open as soon as is possible.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters