Richard Stringer, who led a management buy-in of London-based bar operator Kornicis in October, has told M&C he is developing a new brand to drive expansion.
Stringer said a refurbishment programme would begin in the summer and that the 18-strong estate would be segmented into a core estate of prominent locations that would be run under the new brand and a selection of standalone sites.
The portfolio is currently dominated by the 11 Jamie’s sites but Stringer said: “The future direction of the company hinges on what we do with Jamie’s sites but exactly what that model will be and what they will be called is still a work in progress.”
Stringer said Kornicis would remain a wet-led company but said work was underway to create a food offer to complement this, led by newly appointed head of food Lisa-Marie Harrison, who was previously an area manager. One of her first tasks will be to roll out a breakfast offer across the estate.
Stringer also said he was working with suppliers to overhaul the drinks offer, saying: “We believe our price point is right but the challenge now is to have the kind of premium offer to fit that price point.” He said this focus on product included offering many more wines by the glass and moving away from promotions and happy hours.
He said he expected to complete the refurbishment programme within the next three years and that sites were likely to be added on an opportunistic basis during that period. On disposals, he said: “We’re in the fortunate position that the hard work of streamlining the estate had already been done so we have inherited a really strong collection of sites.”
Stringer said: “We have been in control of the company for just over two months so at the moment we are at the stage of questioning everything, and will be for some time to come. There will be a new brand and we are working on that at the moment. The first step is segmentation. We have 18 sites and many of those are open-windowed, open-spaced sites in good locations. We will develop a brand to get the best out of those locations.
“We have a number of cosy old-fashioned venues and we will be lavishing attention on those and making sure we preserve their individual character.”