The restaurateur highlighted that the chancellor’s announced support package of £9,000 per venue alongside existing grants would provide the group with £150,000 a month, therefore covering just 10% of the firm’s losses.
The owner of multiple restaurant brands that include Bluebird, Quaglino’s, and German Gymnasium called the current lockdown support “wholly inadequate”.
He added: “All our restaurants are currently compulsorily closed due to Covid. They are significant businesses many of which each employ over 100 staff and occupy properties with rateable values over £1m.
“The cost of operating our businesses while closed is c..£1.5m per month compared with average pre-Covid profits of £1m per month. Covid has therefore cost our business £2.5m per month of closure.”
The letter then added a list of considerations that Gunewardena has urged the government to look at, including raising the property grant to 50%, reinstating the job retention bonus of £1,000 per member of staff, extending the VAT and business rates relief, and including tips and service earnings in restaurant staff furlough pay.
Gunewardena added that the demands are “not a speculative wish list of financial asks”, but instead a necessary package that is “desperately needed” by the hospitality industry.