The Bill’s restaurant group is “back on track”, its owner has said, and plans to expand its estate and open more sites.
Richard Caring told The Times that the business had taken the “necessary steps” to turn the business around with a “forensic approach to cost controls”.
“The numbers speak for themselves that Bill’s is back on track,” added Caring, who also owns The Ivy Collection and the Birley Group.
Last year, the chain let go of 12 underperforming sites, which were sublet or surrendered, leaving it with an estate of 46 restaurants. Bill’s once had over 80 restaurants, but Caring later said that the brand had become “tired” and decided to bring in new management.
In March, Bill’s also refinanced its banking facilities with HSBC to around £38m, whilst caring himself provided an extra £750,000 of funding.
As a result, the business has seen an uptick in performance. In the six months to the end of June, it delivered an increase of 4.5% in like-for-like sales from continuing operations to £45.3m, whilst its underlying earnings swung from a £100,000 loss to a profit of £2.45m.
All restaurants had generated higher year-on-year underlying earnings and welcomed a total of 2.67 million guests so far this year. Bill’s managing director Tom James said the brand was “now on a firm footing for future growth and focused expansion”.
He added that despite the challenging economic backdrop trading had beaten expectations.