David and Jo Straker
David and Jo Straker

A family-run Harrogate restaurant that has turned to making takeaway deliveries to survive the COVID-19 pandemic has secured a ‘bounce back’ loan from Lloyds Bank to boost its recovery hopes.

William & Victoria, a mainstay of the North Yorkshire town’s dining scene for over 30 years, is borrowing £50,000 via the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and has also agreed six-month capital repayment holidays on other loans with the bank.

The restaurant and wine bar, which is run by husband and wife team David and Jo Straker, has been closed since March when Boris Johnson announced Britain’s lockdown, forcing the couple to furlough 26 employees.

In an effort to keep the restaurant trading, David and Jo began offering takeaway deliveries of a selection of its most popular dishes. But while the new service has been successful, weekly sales are only about 20% of those in a typical week before COVID-19.

Jo said: “This has been the most stressful time. Like all restaurants, lockdown made it impossible for us to operate so we had to close our doors. We had the idea of offering a takeaway service, which has proved really successful, but it can’t replace the income we’ve lost from being shut.

“The restaurant has been in the family for over 30 years but coronavirus is posing the biggest threat to our future we’ve known. We’re grateful to have Lloyds Bank on our side. The team helped us through the application process and the funding arrived within 24 hours, so we were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

“We’re hopeful it will see us through to the time when restaurants can reopen.”

Lee Rycraft, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “David, Jo and their team have been with us since 2013, when we provided the support for them to buy the building that houses William & Victoria and further funding to refurbish two years later.

“Being one of Harrogate’s most popular restaurants, it’s a great example of the type of business BBLS exists to support during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re confident David and Jo will be serving the community for many years to come.”