Giggling Squid successfully negotiated with the majority of its landlords, agreeing terms for short rent holidays with “almost all of them”, according to chief executive Andy Laurillard.

He told MCA’s The Conversation audience that the business had been looking at “some difficult cash-flow projections” after the first lockdown and it went to its landlords and asked: “Can you share the pain?”

Laurillard said the company had always got on well with most of its landlords and had a mostly collaborative relationship. “They were by and large, open to discussions,” he said.

Thai restaurant chain asked for three months rent free and then six months’ rent deferral, to be paid back over four years.

“Not all of them agreed or could afford to,” said Laurillard. Some were “up to their ears in debt” or relied on the rent for a living.

Overall, it reached settlements with 25 out of 37. “In any case, we made all the payments, kept up with all the rents, even with people we didn’t reach agreement with and we now have no rent overhang at all. We are within all of the arrangements we’ve got.”

Laurillard said Giggling Squid had been trading profitably throughout the pandemic but his heart went out to those that had lost their businesses.

“There were obviously some players in the sector that were struggling anyway and it’s brought forward some of those struggles or crystalised some of the issues with the balance sheet that people had,” he said.

Rent was 5.8% of Giggling Squid’s turnover – “I hope they can get the agreements they need to carry on trading and we don’t see the waves of redundancies and business failures because of a few hold-out landlords.”

Gavin George, chief executive of Laine Pub Company, which has a mix of freehold and leasehold sites, said his company had also been able to, “by and large” agree concessions, waivers and deferrals with landlords.

“We want to be able to get on with trading freely so that we can make sure the cash comes in to pay back any deferred rent that’s accrued,” George said.