Corbin & King is "looking very seriously" to add a hotel to its portfolio after relinquishing management of the Beaumont hotel in London's Mayfair last year.
Chief executive Jeremy King who, with business partner Chris Corbin, has created one of the UK's most successful restaurant companies, told The Caterer: "We're looking, we're looking very seriously. It will take a lot to keep us out of hotels."
Corbin and King ran the Ivy and Le Caprice before selling up and launching their current business, which comprises eight standalone restaurants, including the Wolseley, the Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel and Colbert.
Rent hikes and high opening costs saw Corbin & King relinquish the leasehold to the freeholder Grosvenor in 2016. The two parties then agreed that Corbin & King would "manage and operate the Beaumont and Colony Grill [the hotel restaurant] on a management contract for Grosvenor, replacing the previous landlord and tenant arrangement".
In June 2018 it was revealed that Grosvenor had put the leasehold of the hotel on the market, with a price tag of between £110m and £120m. It was picked up by the Barclay family, owner of the Ritz London.
King said the group was looking to re-enter the hotel market, this time with the support of investor Thai-based Minor Hotels, which operates more than 150 sites globally and paid £58m for a stake in Corbin & King in 2017.
He added that the company would be looking both in the UK and further afield for a new site.
King said: "It was difficult to find one initially and it will be difficult to find another. Now we're part of a company which has so many hotels worldwide and we have the advantage of their expertise, power and their support in finding a different sector of the market.
"We've already ventured out - it will be hard, it's very competitive, but having Minor to support us on the hotel front is massive."
Corbin & King will also open its ninth restaurant, Soutine in St John's Wood, London, in the coming weeks.
See next week's edition for an interview with Jeremy King on Soutine and the company's plans