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Thu 18th Jun 2020 - Living Ventures places Blackhouse business into administration, D&D London plans phased reopening
Living Ventures places Blackhouse business into administration: Blackhouse and Newgate Restaurants, the Living Ventures-owned business, has appointed administrators following the closure of its restaurants in March due to the covid-19 pandemic. The companies operate restaurants in Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester under the Blackhouse Grill brand and Olive in Liverpool. Administrators Duff & Phelps have been appointed to both companies and will be leading the process. Scott Grimbleby, managing director of the restaurant business, said: “We have explored every avenue possible to try to save the business. However, we have been left with no choice but to take this incredibly difficult decision now. We are working with all our teams to try and support them as best we can through this time. The administrators will be seeking to find a buyer for the businesses.” The Blackhouse business was due to exit a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) process it had agreed with creditors in March this year but was prevented from doing so by the crisis and enforced closure of the restaurants. Living Ventures launched a CVA process for its then five-strong, steakhouse concept Blackhouse in 2018. That process included the closure of the brand’s sites in London’s Smithfields – Grill on the Market – and one of its two restaurants in Manchester – Grill on the Alley. Separately, Propel understands Living Ventures’ Australasia and Grand Pacific businesses, which are unaffected by the administration process, have recently secured backing from Santander to help them through the lock-down period.

D&D London plans phased reopening from 4 July, starting with 17 restaurants: Restaurant operator D&D London will reopen 17 of its sites on 4 July, pending the lifting of government restrictions. These restaurants, located in London, Manchester and Leeds, form the first phase of reopening of the full D&D London portfolio. Its other UK restaurants as well as D&D’s sites in New York and Paris will reopen through August and September. Chief executive and co-founder Des Gunewardena said all restaurants would fully adhere to government safety guidelines. These include the adjustment of restaurant layouts to allow for physical distancing; enhanced cleaning regimes; hand sanitising facilities and electronic menu and contactless payment. Staff safety will also be a priority with daily wellness checks for all employees and personal protective equipment for front-of-house staff to wear while serving guests. He added: “It’s been a tough few months since we had to close our restaurants in March. We’ve kept ourselves busy in lock-down with our various volunteering initiatives for the NHS. We’ve also been busy remodelling our venues to comply with the requirements of the new world we find ourselves in. We have no illusions about how challenging it’s going to be, but we are also excited about finally reopening. D&D’s restaurants are known not just for the food and service but also for design and atmosphere. This will not have changed when we welcome back our first customers. Yes, some of the restaurants will look slightly different and service will need to comply with safety guidelines, but we will do our best to give our customers a fun and relaxed experience. Many of the restaurants we are opening in the first phase have outdoor terraces so we are also praying for the glorious lock-down weather we’ve enjoyed so far, to continue long into summer.”

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