Des Gunewardena steps away from D&D London

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Des Gunewardena steps away from D&D London

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D&D London co-founder Des Gunewardena has left business after 16 years.

The company has appointed its co-founder David Loewi as interim CEO with Gunewardena leaving to pursue other ventures.

“I am very sad to be leaving D&D, which I love and have seen grow from its first restaurant opening over 30 years ago in its Conran days to the fabulous business it is today,” says Gunewardena.

“Though I will now be focusing on existing and new ventures outside D&D I wish David and the management team every success for the future.”

Loewi and Gunewardena co-founded D&D - which takes its name from their initials - in 2006 from Conran Restaurants where they worked together. Loewi has since held the role of deputy chairman and COO, and will continue to lead D&D London with the support of the existing management team.  

“Our restaurants are trading well as the UK leisure and hospitality scene recovers with workers returning to offices and business travel coming back. This resilience has enabled our group to retain a strong cash position and financial headroom,” says Loewi.

“However, we are also acutely aware of the challenging economic environment, particularly for our industry in the face of inflation and skills shortages, and so remain pragmatic over the outlook for sector and continuously keep our operations and strategy under review.

“Des has been an important part of D&D London’s success and history, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

The group reports that revenues were £163m for the 15 months since reopening post-lockdowns April 2021 to June 2022, with trading at 90% of pre-Covid levels. EBITDA for the same period was £17m.

During Gunewardena’s tenure as CEO, D&D London has expanded to own and operate more than 40 restaurants across the UK and internationally, including London’s Le Pont de la Tour, Coq d’Argent, Quaglino's, German Gymnasium, and Launceston Place . The business has also made a number of openings in recent years in Manchester, Leeds and Bristol as well as overseas in New York and Paris.

It also owns South Place, an 80 bedroom luxury hotel in the City of London.

The company is set to open its first venture in Birmingham next month. Called Orelle​, it will be an 88-cover modern French restaurant, café and bar located on the 24th floor of 103 Colmore Row.

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