For Bill Collison, founder of restaurant chain Bill's, the pressure of running a big business is nothing compared to a fever dream of waking up too late to buy strawberries from the market.

He tells me that this scenario is a recurring nightmare for him, despite his not needing to make such a mad dash for the market for 15 or so years.

This was when Bill's was a cafe a fresh produce delicatessen in Lewes, Essex, where the 18 year journey started for Bill and his family.

Now, of course, Bill's is widely known and well loved brand, with around 82 restaurants in total.

Three of which have recently undergone a facelift and menu spruce up, including St Albans, and as we speak Bill tells me he is "polishing apples" in the Covent Garden restaurant which, with Westfield in London, makes up the trio.

The business started out as a "family affair", he says, which came over many days of talking and imagining.

"We talked about it over supper, breakfast, lunch - every day we were trying to build up this mood board in our heads of what we wanted to do with the Bill’s Café and Produce store, as it was called then."

"There was a lot more fresh foods involved in those days so it was fresh produce, a delicatessen, and everything you cooked came from the shelves.

"If asparagus was in season it was all across the menu and then that evolved organically - it was never the plan.

"It was just me, my sister-in-law and wife who went to work every day and just had fun with it, so it grew from there."

Bill had to learn a lot about the business world - mainly how to let go of some of the control in order to expand.

"I had to be taught I wasn’t the only one who could make the coleslaw - there may be someone else who can do it better than me," he says.

"And that’s how it could grow as it would release me and others to do something else."

They first decided to change the fresh produce from on display, to on the plate, coming up with creative, fresh meals full of healthy vegetables.

But it still took five years before they opened their second restaurant, in Brighton, and another three or four years until the next.

One thing that Bill believes has been a key to their success, is their desire to put the guests first and create a community with their staff.

Bill says: "There are a lot of independents and small restaurants where they are sole traders looking after their most valuable customers but it’s much harder as you get bigger, but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t be done.

"It’s all about putting the guests first, before anything else, even before profit."

The new revamp still has this desire at its heart, with a menu based more around family favourites and sharing, and a homely atmosphere with specially selected furnishings (by Bill himself.)

"I want to make people feel happy and comfortable but also chuckle and have fun," he says.

"And with the menu it’s got a more elegant feel to it but it’s also more generous in a way that people will hopefully see straight away. Not just in quantity but in style."

All in all, Bill hopes the new restaurant in St Albans will have a relaxed atmosphere, with friendly staff who will go the extra mile for guests, and become the place where families will want to visit to take a night off from cooking.

He says: "You’re putting on a show every day – the restaurant industry is theatre. The guests are the audience, the restaurant is the stage and all the staff are the actors and you need to know you’re good at what you do and desire to show it off.

"I’m looking forward to that happening because sometimes you have to go backwards to come forwards.

"That’s what we’re trying to do – to make sure we’re looking after those little details.

"Sometimes in some businesses you forget and that’s what we are making sure we don’t do."

Bill's in Chequer Street, St Albans, reopened after a refurbishment in January.