CG Restaurants is anticipating that it will take much longer for sales at its London sites to bounce back compared with its regional locations.
When the business opened back up last July, its sites in Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham and Leeds were back up to 80-85% of prior year’s numbers by the second week of trading, however in London it took nearly four weeks to get back to 70-75% of sales, chief executive Scott Matthews told the audience for MCA’s The Conversation event earlier this week.
“Bookings in the past two weeks are showing London is going to be a lot slower,” he said. CG Restaurants has booked around 24,000 covers in the past two weeks, and the majority of them are for its regional locations, “but London is very slow”, he said.
In terms of reopening, Matthews said that its Tuttons and Dirty Martini sites in Covent Garden would open on 12 April, with all bar two sites in the City to open for 17 May.
Matthews said he was also working with various landlords about the possibility of opening some pop-ups in order to tap into the demand for drinks outside.
“We did pop-ups in the Piazza in Covent Garden last summer and at Christmas, and in early December, out of all the London sites we had open, the pop-up was the busiest site we had,” he said.
The business has also been developing its online shop and has sent “just under 60,000 martinis to people’s homes”, since it launched the service in May last year. It has also carried out around 11,500 masterclasses.
“People are still booking for those as well. So just because we are reopening, we are not dropping off from the online presence – that’s something we want to carry on as part of the business as well,” he added.
Speaking about the main challenges the business faces, Matthews said that while roadmap has provided some structure and dates to work, rent is “the main point we need to address”.
He said that while many of the business’ landlords have been very supportive, “we have got one landlord that just doesn’t want to talk to us at all”.
“I can only think they are holding out until the moratorium ends,” he added.
Scott Matthews: ‘Business in London is going to be slower to come back’
CG Restaurants is anticipating that it will take much longer for sales at its London sites to bounce back compared with its regional locations. The bar and restaurant business has booked around 24,000 covers in the past two weeks, and the majority of them are for its regional locations, “but London is very slow”, chief executive Scott Matthews told the audience for MCA’s The Conversation event earlier this week. In addition to reopening sites with outside space, Matthews said he was working with landlords about the possibility of opening pop-ups.