Conran Restaurants is to change its name to D&D London following the recent buyout from Conran Holdings, Caterer can reveal.
Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive, and David Loewi, managing director, will unveil the new name today (1 March).
In September 2006, the pair, backed by financiers HBoS, led their management team in a buyout of 49% of Conran Restaurants from Conran Holdings.
Gunewardena said: "We agreed at the time of the buyout that we would change our name to reflect the new ownership and management and to communicate to the outside world that there has been a fresh start and a new energy in the company."
Loewi added: "Our new name will, I hope, add a new vigour and dynamism to the company and assist in the drive to attract the highest calibre of passionate individuals to enable us to continue to build the company."
However, marketing experts warned that the group risked losing the reputation Conran Restaurants had built up over the years.
"There is considerable brand equity in the Conran name and it is going to be difficult to retain that," said Paul West, managing director at Ignite Marketing. "I can't really see the benefit of changing the name] from a marketing point of view."
But West added that the name change might have been a condition of the buyout deal and said sustaining levels of quality and service was the key to future success.
D&D London opened three new restaurants in Copenhagen in December and has plans to open two in Tokyo in March and April. These will be closely followed by an eaterie at the refurbished Royal Festival Hall in London, in June.
The company, owner of restaurants such as Bluebird, Floridita and Quaglino's, saw like-for-like sales up 13% in the three months to Christmas, compared with the same period in 2005.
By Daniel Thomas
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