Bill’s, the Richard Caring-backed group, saw turnover climb 20.5% to £110.5m in the year to the end of July 2016, with EBITDA increasing 8.9% to £13.5m, MCA understands.

The Mark Fox-led, 76-strong group, which is on track to post turnover of over £115m in its current financial year, saw gross margin increase by 0.6 percentage points in the year to July 2016 to 74.9%.

Fox told MCA: “Modest growth compared to previous years, but expected after decelerating unit growth. As we look forward, we have a plan for continued top line growth, but with a likely smaller organic growth number in terms of new sites. We will see revenues grow to somewhere between £115m to £120m and for EBITDA to grow to up to c£15m.

“We will see fairly subdued like-for-like growth over the coming year, meaningful but relatively slow unit growth, compared to previous years. All things being equal, with improving underlying operational innovation, we should start to see underlying sales growth improve. We will also be accelerating our unit growth and introducing a grab and go format as we enter the new financial year.

“I am pretty bullish about the rest of this year, notwithstanding cost pressures which we are having to plan for and find ways to simulate, but from a customer’s standpoint if you are good operator it can be an ok year.

“If you look at the two-year period from July 2015 to July 2017, that period has effectively been a consolidation period for the business, bringing things together operationally, structuring the business for further growth.”

MCA revealed earlier this month, that Bill’s plans to launch its new grab-and-go format, which has been developed under the name Little Bill’s”, this summer in London, whilst also putting its foot down on expansion for its core brand.

Fox told MCA that the best way he could describe the new grab-and-go format was that it was “Pret meets Leon with a difference”. He said that the group was close to securing one or two sites in London for the format and that if it tests well he believed the company could eventually open 300-400 under the concept.

In terms of the 76-strong core brand, Fox believes that it still has scope to double in size and is again working on building the group’s pipeline, with the group set to add to its London estate after securing the La Tasca in Cardinal Place, Victoria.