Hospitality Today Summer 2017 (#38) - Page 17

When Bill’s opened in Victoria on a former La Tasca site, they turned over two or three times what La Tasca had done. Now they need to grow by £5m to grown £1.5m profit – very challenging, with Business Rate rises, the national living wage etc. | 17 Echoing an earlier Arena panel discussion, Fox agreed that we are all operating in a challenging environment and its harder to achieve profit ambitions due to rising costs. “We need to peddle a bit harder to get through the next couple of years.” He revealed plans afoot for Bill’s, including: A launch into the grab-and-go convenience food in the summer, which he described as ‘Pret meets Leon’. “You don’t have to sacrifice great taste and excitement for convenience” A continued focus on breakfast, which is 25% of covers and ‘growing like billio’. “Without breakfast we’d be finding life much tougher than we are today.” Playing to its core consumer focus, the millennials, who eat out more often than anyone else (even if they are spending a little less) and seek out experiences not products with a more adventurous outlook on food In its current guise, Bill’s could reach 150-200 sites And, looking at the future of the casual dining market, Mark believes: The sector is going to have a 2-3 year shake out period, with a decline of ‘ordinary’ businesses and growth of the more innovative. “There’s so much choice available now, you’ve got to be great. You can’t stay still.” As well as breakfast, sharing is a growing trend but it’s a little trickier as it must make sense for the business from a profit perspective The biggest challenges for the next 12 months are recruiting and keeping qualified and engaged people; the staggering property costs; and driving innovation. Deliveroo is already 1-2% of Bill’s turnover. At the end of his presentation, Fox engaged with the audience during a question and answer session that further explored his thoughts on the future of the casual dining market and wider eating out sector. He was also asked the pertinent question ‘what makes a good supplier?’ Fox responded: “The best suppliers tell the truth and engage with what you’re trying to achieve; making your life easier and contributing to helping you reach your end goal.”