Celebrity chef Richard Corrigan has predicted restaurants in east London and more residential areas will “bounce back” quicker than those in central London that are heavily reliant on tourism and an “older clientele”.
The Irish chef, who has appeared on The Great British Menu, said he thinks central London venues will “struggle” compared to restaurants in trendier areas like Shoreditch and Hackney.
At the start of lockdown, he closed all three of his London restaurants, Bentley’s in Regent Street, Corrigan’s in Mayfair and Daffodil Mulligan in Old Street, furloughing all of his 150 staff members.
He is relaunching Daffodil Mulligan, which opened at the end of 2019, on September 1, but does not plan on opening his other venues until October at the earliest.
Corrigan, 56, said: “I was in shock for April after we had to shut down. Now, we’re not going to rush. We have a small crew and re-opening three restaurants at once is a lot of work. Bentley’s and Corrigan’s have an older clientele. In the summer, in particular, we rely on shoppers and tourists. They’re not back yet.
“Central London will struggle in comparison to more urban, younger areas. I think Daffodil will do better - a lot of east London venues will - than the central London venues for that reason. Our clientele there are younger and they are less worried about leaving the house and getting out.”
He added: “We need London to be fully open. Restaurants face a real crisis. We haven’t seen the worst of the crisis yet or the ripple. The next 18 months will be critical for hospitality.”
Meanwhile, David Moore, owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Pied de Terre in Fitzrovia said he would be “watching” his contemporaries and waiting until “August or September” to open his doors, despite venues being allowed to relaunch with strict social distancing conditions from last weekend.
He said he was “nervous” of opening too soon and having to close again, suggesting he “wouldn’t be able to open again” should a second wave force him to close.
Moore, 55, added: “The theatres, culture is all still closed and the footfall in Fitzrovia isn’t there yet. We’ll open when London is open again.”