The owner of exclusive London restaurant The Ivy has pledged millions of pounds to transform two Sussex cafés and produce stores.

Bill's, in North Road, Brighton, and Cliffe High Street, Lewes, will use Richard Caring's cash to open a string of new branches.

Owner Bill Collison said: "Both our stores are very busy and loved by everyone who works there and all our customers.

"We have a fantastic team from the kitchen porters to the chefs and managers and thought we should expand the business.

"It is financially difficult to grow any business and Richard has offered to help us with that and come on board.

"We plan to take the business forward in the way we have done already and with his backing we can become very strong."

Mr Collison said his immediate plans include improving what his stores already offer, such as sourcing new local products.

He then hopes to open more stores along the South Coast, with possible sites including Tunbridge Wells and Chichester, before moving into London.

He said: "When we open the new stores we want to localise products and make sure they are sustainable."

Mr Caring, 57, Britain's biggest clothing supplier, is worth a reputed £300 million.

Last week he finalised a £31 million deal to take over three of the most celebrated restaurants in London - The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey.

In January he bought a controlling share of the Camden Market complex, one of London's most visited tourist attractions, for nearly £40 million. The following month he splashed out £130 million for Wentworth Golf Club.

Mr Collison said: "He is not a restaurateur himself but he employs people who know what they are doing.

"For him it is not all about money. He likes creating something he is proud of.

"He is quality driven and that is the way we want to stay because that is what we are proud of."

Mr Collison said Bill's would not be changing as a result of the new investment.

He said: "The main thing to make sure is that everyone realises we are doing it for the good of our business.

"Bill's has something for everyone and that is the way it is going to stay.

"People come to eat in their working clothes or in a collar and tie and they are happy to sit next to each other on a communal table.

"That is what is special about Bill's and that is what I am desperate to keep."