Prezzo has appointed Olly Smith as chief culinary officer to guide an investment into the restaurant group's food and drink.
Smith, formerly head of food at Nando's UK, will oversee menu development, food and drink standards, and kitchen skills.
He has returned to the UK after nearly a decade living in the US, having moved to New York in 2013 to act as vice-president of Pret A Manger's US estate, where he was responsible for food, coffee, and brand development. In 2017 he joined Westerlind Pantry, an upscale grocery store in upstate New York.
Smith has also held UK product development roles with Pret A Manger UK and Daylesford Organic.
Karen Jones, executive chair at Prezzo, said Smith would "without question make Prezzo a more delicious place to eat".
Last summer Prezzo, which has 149 sites, opened its first new restaurant since 2018, at the Islington Square development in north London.
The restaurant chain gave all of its 2,500 staff a pay rise in October, including a 5% increase for restaurant managers, and announced it would be closing all its sites on Boxing Day in a bid to boost recruitment.