Our restaurant booking was forced off the menu

We made a restaurant reservation with Radici (part of D&D London) and paid a refundable £250 deposit for a family meal after our registry office wedding. When the pandemic set in we cancelled the meal which was booked for the beginning of June. We’ve now been chasing the refund for 11 weeks. We have had a string of excuses, promising the money is on its way, but have never received it. What can we do to get them to refund the money?

MW, London

While our postbag is full of irate complaints about airlines, travel booking sites, cruise line operators and so on, we have heard little about restaurants. That’s probably because few people will have lost out – hardly anyone puts down advance deposits for a meal, unless, as in your case, it’s for a larger family wedding meal that needs to be planned months in advance.

D&D operates 43 restaurants, including some of London’s most famous, such as Quaglino’s, Le Pont de la Tour and Coq d’Argent, in a company that emerged out of the Sir Terence Conran restaurant empire. Radici is one of its newest, opening opposite Islington’s Almeida Theatre in 2017, and receiving great reviews, from the Observer, no less.

While many readers will have sympathy for the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the restaurant trade, it is disappointing you had to spend months chasing a refund.

Once the glare of newspaper publicity fell on the restaurant, there was a swift response, and D&D London has refunded you in full.

It says: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of our staff have been furloughed and we have not been able to operate as promptly as we would normally. This has been a particularly difficult time for our industry and the owners of the businesses have had to inject funds to finance the company through the lockdown ahead of reopening. To support hospitality we have encouraged rebooking rather than cancellation, or agreeing to await our reopening. However, we do understand that in this circumstance it wasn’t an option to rebook for a future date and the refund has been processed.”

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