Dylan Murray, who joined Drake & Morgan from Soho House Group UK in January, said the company was ploughing on with its plan to open up to 20 sites as well as carry out a refresh of the offering across the existing estate.
The company’s eighth site – The Refinery – officially opened at Regent’s Place on Friday (13 March) and will be followed with another at King’s Cross later this year.
“The next site we’ll open is at Kings Cross – Number 2 Granary Square - which we’re planning on opening in September,” he said.
“Regarding further acquisitions, we’re constantly looking for new sites and our ambition is to do at least one more in the coming financial year on top of the Kings Cross one, if not two.”
Despite having ambitions to open more sites, Murray, who grew Soho House Group’s estate from eight to 17 sites while he was there, said finding sites that were right for the business was a big challenge.
“As a brand we are quite versatile,” he said. “We can operate anything from 5,000 to 15,000 sqft, but it does have to be in the right location, have the right layout and be the right price. We believe strongly in our brand, but we don’t want to pay a high premium.”
Since joining Murray has been working on refreshing the brand, which he aims to do every six months. Everything will be changed he said, from food and drink menus and crockery, to staff uniforms, merchandising and even the music playlists.
“My buzzwords for refresh have been ‘cleaner, leaner and fresher’,” he said. “I want to bring that to the whole business, from the food and drink to the look and feel front and back of site.
“It will be new and exciting with the new look going live on the 20th April across all sites.”
Murray, who said the business owed much of its operations efficiency to QSR kitchen management system and pre-booking system Aardvark, among other systems, said he was also working on making service more efficient.
“I’ve introduced a service culture called Love to Learn. We’re realigning our work books with what is best in class as a barman or as a waiter,” he said. “It’s a high priority of mine,” he said.