Nick Ayerst has been appointed chief executive of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean restaurant business Comptoir Group.
He was previously managing director of Leon, where he was brought on board in 2020 to restructure its operational model. Prior to this, Ayerst spent 15 years in leadership roles at The Restaurant Group, and between 2013 and 2020, he was managing director of TRG Concessions, which operates restaurants, bars and QSR outlets in airports, stations, shopping centres and Hilton hotels.
Ayerst will take over from Jean-Michel Orieux, who has been interim chief executive since August. Orieux will revert to his role as independent non-executive director.
The company seeks to accelerate its growth trajectory, including opening of new restaurants and exploiting opportunities in franchising and wholesale.
Ayerst said: "I am joining Comptoir Group at an exciting time for the company. The strength of the Comptoir brand, talented team and vision of the new Board to grow the business and deliver a best in class offering for its guests make this a great opportunity. I see tremendous potential for the Company to grow and capture market share and I look forward to building on Comptoir's success."
Beatrice Lafon, chair, added: "We are excited to welcome Nick to Comptoir Group as our new chief executive officer. Nick brings over 30 years' relevant experience in the sector, with the combination of skills and energy to lead the business through Comptoir's next strategic growth phase."
Comptoir Group owns and operates 27 Lebanese restaurants, six of which are franchised, based predominately in the UK. The flagship brand of the group, Comptoir Libanais, is a collection of 21 restaurants located across London and nationwide, including cities such as Manchester, Bath, Leeds, Birmingham, Oxford and Exeter.
The group also operates Shawa, serving traditional shawarmas through a counter service model in Westfield and Bluewater shopping centers, Yalla-Yalla with branches near Oxford Circus and in Soho, and entertainment venue Kenza, located in Devonshire Square, London.
The group has expanded internationally with its franchise partners HMSHOST, with restaurants in the Netherlands, Qatar and Dubai.