Baton Berisha takes the reins at Bill's as Campbell and Hills depart

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

 The Ivy Collection Baton Berisha takes the reins at Bill's restaurant group as David Campbell and Sarah Hills depart

Related tags: Casual dining, richard caring, The Ivy

Bills executive chairman David Campbell and managing director Sarah Hills have left the all-day dining group with Baton Berisha, managing director of The Ivy Collection, taking on the running of the Richard Caring-backed chain.

Berisha has worked for Caring for five years, becoming managing director of The Ivy Collection in May 2019. A former refugee who fled Kosovo as a teenager, he started out in at Quo Vadis, then under Marco Pierre White. He went on to hold roles at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, D&D London’s Quaglino’s and Brompton Brand’s Mahiki.

“Baton has played an integral role in the growth of The Ivy Collection, whilst he remains as its managing director he will now also be working closely with myself ensuring we continue to evolve the Bills Restaurant portfolio,” says Caring, who backs both brands as part of Caprice Holdings.

According to recent financial accounts, Campbell and his team oversaw a major turnaround at Bill’s, underpinned by a major capital investment injection in the estate.

In September 2018, Bill’s was trading 6.1 percentage points (pp) behind Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Following 13 refurbishments, by December 2018 the entire estate was trading ahead of the market, and by August 2019, the company has traded for nine months ahead of the Coffer Peach. Some 20 Bill’s restaurants have now been refurbished as part of the company’s 2020 Vision programme.

Like-for-like sales in the first three quarters of 2019 across the total business have been up 8.8% on 2018, with the refurbished restaurants “significantly ahead”.

Speaking last year at the refurbishment process​, Campbell said: “We’ve got better at it over time. Within a couple of weeks they’re all up and punching out the numbers.”

The company has so far spent around £12m on refurbishments, with a further £10m earmarked for the rest of the 78-strong estate throughout 2020.

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