Since acquiring the 11 Corney & Barrow sites on 6 July the priority had been to win the confidence of the company’s 200 employees, Drake & Morgan operations director Dylan Murray told BigHospitality.
“It is essential that we settle them down and give them security and confidence in our ability to grow the business they are in,” he said.
With staff stability sorted, Murray said the plan was to convert two sites – yet to be decided – ‘this side of Christmas’ with another two to convert in early 2017.
Sites are likely to be converted to either The Refinery brand or become part of the D&M Collection, Murray told BigHospitality as part of our latest In Operation with… video interview.
“The acquisition of Corney and Barrow is fundamental to the business,” he said. “It essentially brings together two businesses which are quite similar.
“Corney & Barrow has had a footprint in the city for the best part of 30 years and has a strong reputation. They have great sites so when we did the acquisition it enhances our footprint as a business. We’ve got quite big plans for the business as we go forward.”
The conversion of the first Corney & Barrow sites will run simultaneously with the opening of the company’s first sites outside London, in Edinburgh and Manchester.
Sites under The Refinery brand are scheduled to open at the end of November at Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square development and at Spinningfields in Manchester.
They both follow the opening of the company’s first airside site – The Commission –at Heathrow’s T4 earlier this month as part of its partnership with hospitality management company Delaware North.
A second site in Manchester – at St Peter’s Square and a third in Canary Wharf – at West India Quay will open in the first quarter of next year, confirmed Murray.
“There’s a lot going on in the next six months,” he said. “With the acquisition of the Corney & Barrow sites we grew to 20 sites. Adding the out-of-London developments, plus Heathrow should bring us to 25 by the end of March next year.”