[London] COVID-19 Closures & [UPDATE] Re-Openings

Yes, that would be the two businesses that are being killed. Whilst I’ve never darkened the doors of either chain, my entirely received information is that both sell low grade dishes to a very undiscerning clientele. I guess that some of those unfortunates will miss them. Very few others will.

As and when TRG goes bust, I speculate that the Brunning and Price business might be saleable. Bargains are to be had in fire sale scenarios. A brave investor might offer to buy at, say, about 50% of the pre disaster net asset value. Thus it might survive.

I’ve been to a Chiquito once. Some colleagues took me for dinner as part of my retirement celebrations. It was just round the corner from the office. Even though that is now over 16 years ago, my memory is that it just wasnt at all good.

With regard to B & P, I think one, or both, of the original founders are still active in the business. I would have thought they might be well placed to organise a buy-out and retrench back into their northern heartland, ditching the expansion into the south of the RG years.

When the government closed the restaurants, there were a number in my part of the world which continued to stay in business, offering takeaway or delivery. Most of these were places that always offered that option. There were never that many - certainly no more than 10. But, only a few days on, over half of them have closed completely - presumably it has proved to be not worth their while staying open just for off-premises food.

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Fairly similar situation in London I think. There’s still a fair few companies offering takeout by the looks of the delivery apps, but of the two local “proper” restaurants that I frequent who scrambled to offer takeout, one stopped early last week and the other is stopping on Sunday. I’ve no insight but as most of the trade suppliers seem to be targeting home consumers at the moment I don’t think it’s a matter of supply. Demand probably just isn’t there if people are tightening their belts.

By the by, there’s a brief mention on the Observer’s business pages that TRG has decided to permanently close Chiquito. Nothing about their other brands.

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BBC reports that around 120 Frankie & Benny outlets may not reopen. Sorry to hear that for the staff - but it will not be a great loss.


That’s what’s so depressing about the new Pandemic “economy”. Hundreds and thousands of wage earners losing incomes worldwide, and governments are like: “Wha…”

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Oh my, The Ledbury as well. :cry:


Disappointing. Not least as , if a restaurant says it couldnt operate on even a 1 metre distancing rule which seems to be the absolute minimum for safety, then it has to go.


Agreed. But then, I still remembered how resistant owner, Nigel Platts-Martin, was to even reduce the prices on the menu during the last 2008 recession.

I do feel for the staff at The Ledbury - certainly not a good time to be made redundant. At the end of the day, it’s the money that counts for the owners, eh? More on Nigel Platts-Martin:

As ever.

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The Casual Dining Group, owners of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, has gone into administration. The way things are, there’s going to be no lunch opportunities at my nearby cinema.

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If you say it fast, 1,900 jobs lost doesn’t seem that bad.


You have to say it very fast, Jimmy, at the end of a 2 day period that’s seen over 12k jobs go. That includes 5k at sandwich chain, Upper Crust. Many (most?) of the company’s outlets are at transport hubs - airports and major railway stations - which have been badly Covid hit.

  1. C&R Cafe in Chinatown - my go-to place for Malaysian-style chicken curry when I’m in London, is re-opening for dining-in business tomorrow.

I’m wondering if their previously furloughed staff who’d gone on to establish popular on-line/home delivery businesses catering to the Malaysian/Singaporean diaspora over the past year, like Nyonya Kakak, will actually go back to work there.

  1. TukDin - Flavours of Malaysia re-opens for business on Tue, 18 May.
    Owner, Zainuddin Yahaya, 68, once ran the kitchen of Malaysia Hall Canteen on Bryanstone Square. Born in Kedah (a state in Northern Malaysia) but a British resident for more than 40 years, he opened his eponymously-named restaurant (“TukDin” in Malay translates to “Grandpa Din”) in 2009, offering ethnic-Malay cooking slightly tweaked to suit the British palate.

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With indoor dining reopening from tomorrow (hopefully a permanent step, but who knows), the BBC is reporting that we may have lost 10% of our restaurants to the pandemic. Have to say that, with all the regular tales of imminent catastrophe from the industry bodies, I’m sort of surprised that the figure is so low. But then I never reeally believed the scaremongering.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold