The first Base & Barley is set to open its doors in Exeter later this month, but Hill is already looking to expand the brand with ambitions to have 200 sites open under the Artigiano and Base & Barley brands by the end of 2025.
Hill told BigHospitality he had wanted to grow the five-strong Artigiano brand for some time, but its format - an upmarket coffee shop by day and wine bar by night - meant it was only suitable for certain locations.
“Artigiano is going really well and we’re planning to ramp up our expansion of that next year with our JV partnership model,” he said. “What we’re finding with Artigiano is we need some prime city centre locations to make the pitch work and we’re finding it a challenge to find those sites in a timely manner to meet our expansion plans.
“Our concern with Artigiano was if we couldn’t find any value sites then it wouldn’t be a robust offer that worked in those locations so we wanted to create something a bit different that would allow us to obtain properties a little bit easier and would work alongside Artigiano as well, hence why Base & Barley’s been born.”
Hill said Base & Barley was 'more flexible' as a brand and had a broader appeal than Artigiano. Base & Barley's pricing has also been kept low with its most expensive pizza priced at £7.95.
"With the high street rents with Artigiano we have to be very careful about where we go, whereas with the Base & Barley model we can go further off pitch and can tackle some of the smaller locations," said Hill. "With Artigiano we're in Exeter and our next couple of locations are Plymouth and Bristol but I believe with Base & Barley we are able to go to other locations in between that like Taunton or Exmouth."
Hill said the plan was to expand further within the company's South West heartland with both concepts before moving further afield.
"I'm from Exeter and this allows us to keep things close. There are opportunities in London and at some point we'll be ready to tackle those, but right now we're focusing on the South West."