Fried chicken and waffles chain Bird has appointed Andrew Clover as managing director to deliver an ambitious expansion plan with several new site launches planned for early 2021.
The group plans to grow through franchise and commercial partnerships in the UK and overseas, which Clover said "could see 100-plus sites over the next five years". New sites are set to open in the first quarter of 2021 in Cambridge and Leeds, as well as Battersea, Waterloo and Shoreditch in London.
The group already has restaurants in London in Westfield Stratford City, Canary Wharf, Camden and Islington, and most recently in Brixton.
Clover said: "Bird has all the right ingredients for significant growth and so I feel privileged to take the helm at such a crucial time. My immediate focus has been to get under the skin of the entire brand experience and to revisit operational procedures to set our teams up to win – creating a plug-and-play ready brand if you like."
The now parent company, Crown Partnership, acquired Bird as part of a pre-pack administration from the original founders, former Credit Suisse investment banker Paul Hemings and his wife and chef Cara Ceppetelli, last year. The pair are no longer involved in the business.
Clover was until recently retail director at the Crown Partnership having previously held roles including interim head of retail at London Stansted Airport for six months, UK general manager of HMS Host, and operations manager of Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill.
Senior partner at the Crown Partnership Charles Beer said: "We loved the Bird brand ethos and vision for a world-class casual dining offer, so we took the plunge and acquired them in August 2019, an investment now approaching £2m.
"Andrew's track record tells you all you need to know about why we chose him to lead the brand. As a board member for global travel dining giants HMS Host UK he achieved a seven-fold performance increase for his division. He brought his retail expertise to Stansted's new departure terminal, advising and developing the strategy to maximise the commercial opportunity while enhancing the guest experiences, and he was instrumental in developing numerous proprietary concepts for hospitality as well as introducing Leon to the travel community and managing franchises on Starbucks, Burger King and others."
Canadians Hemings and Ceppetelli opened the first Bird in 2014 in London's Hoxton.
Crown Partnership is a hospitality and catering business founded by Russell Morgan more than 40 years ago. As well as owning catering businesses Seasoned and Kudos, the group is a business partner with Daniel Clifford's two-Michelin-starred Midsummer House restaurant in Cambridge.