Bill Collison

His Dad spent his life growing stuff, and the Bill’s story started many years ago when he showed Bill a small space, not much bigger than a shed, just off the high street in Lewes, in East Sussex. Make of it what you will, he said. Bill grew up planting, pruning and picking fresh fruit and vegetables, so he opened a tiny greengrocery shop.

A few years later Bill moved the shop on to the high street and everything was going well until the town was hit by a flood in 2000. His shop was ruined (so was his house, further down the street, but that’s another story). So, he had to start again, only this time he added a café.

Often with more luck than judgement, Bill's set out to create something amazing, with great food, a real buzz, and plenty to look at - a place for everyone. They had a lot of support - from their customers and suppliers, and from the lovely people who came to work with them and, to their surprise, they became a bit of a sensation, growing to open 76 restaurants nationwide.

An on-stage Q&A with Bill Collison

Bills first began as a greengrocers shop in Lewes, East Sussex, before a flood forced founder Bill Collison to start from scratch. Only this time, he added a cafe into the mix and the group was born. Now there are 76 restaurants nationwide.

Using a combination of both smart management and Richard Caring''s backing, Bill''s has made an incredible jump from ''fledging concept'' to a major national player in a remarkable record time.