Bill’s, the casual English restaurant chain, has announced a strong start to 2019, bucking the downward trend suffered by so many of its competitors.
The company reported like-for-like sales for the year up to March were up 12 per cent.
This is in part down to the group’s bold refurbishment plans. Bill’s has converted 13 of its restaurants to a new style, and all are said to be outperforming other branches in the chain. By summer, the total number of new-look Bill’s will reach 24.
Founder Bill Collison, who is overseeing the updates, said: “My aim with the aesthetics is to create a welcoming and vibrant environment that transcends all dining times, but importantly provides a trusted space that customers feel comfortable in to have an evening meal.”
CEO David Campbell added: “The last six months have seen strong growth for Bill’s as we have renewed our focus on healthy and indulgent seasonal food.
“The interior of the restaurants is also integral to our customer’s experience, and so, with the current new look sites outperforming the rest of the estate, we are obviously keen to expand the programme. We are also looking at some exciting new locations for Bill’s.”
The improvements seem to be helping Bill’s regain relevance. As far back as 2016, the cooking was deemed inadequate by a number of reporters, and while family friendly, even “fun and friendly”, the food was too often described as “barely average”.
Of course, it is more an aesthetic change than a culinary one here. But in design terms it’s been a very shrewd move: upgrading a look which was by no means well past the sell-by.