Bill’s Restaurants, the Richard Caring-backed chain, has further strengthen its team in the North, before a concerted push into the region, with the appointment of Chris Maycock, former operational head chef at Individual Restaurant Company (IRC).

Maycock, who had been operational head chef at IRC for over four years, joins Bill’s to oversee its food operations in the north.

Earlier this year, Tony Palmer, formerly of M&B, joined the company to drive its expansion north of the M25, west of the M40, in the Midlands, North West, North East and Scotland.

Bill’s is looking to further strengthen its openings pipeline for this year, and is believed to be in talks on sites in Nottingham, Newbury and York.

The group, which has already exchanged on sites in Manchester, Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, has applied to open in the old Bank of Scotland site in Queen Street, Nottingham and in Market Place, Newbury. It is also believed to be in talks on sites in York and Leeds.

The 31-strong group will open in Tunbridge Wells on 7 April, in Kingston upon Thames on 14 April, in Eastbourne later next month, and in Worcester in May.