Popeyes UK announces senior team as launch strategy takes shape

Employment & Skills | Food & Drink | South East

Chicken sandwich

Following the recent announcement of its UK launch, Popeyes UK has unveiled its senior team as it accelerates towards its first restaurant opening in autumn 2021.

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The beloved US-born chicken brand is committed to bringing a digital experience to the UK, with an emphasis on building connections and community for guests. The senior team has been appointed to bring this vision to life, ushering joy into the UK market and serving guests a dose of its signature Louisiana hospitality – as the nation looks ahead to recovery following a tough year.

UK CEO Tom Crowley will lead the expert team – which has over 100 years’ collective experience working across UK F&B brands – comprised of chief development officer, Tom Byng; chief technology officer, David Carey; and chief operating officer, Neil Williamson. The brand’s UK CMO and head of people are expected to be appointed imminently.

Tom Byng joins as chief development officer in the UK from Fulham Shore, owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek, where he was instrumental in growing the group to over 70 sites nationwide in five years.

Tom also played a key role in the expansion of Itsu in the UK, where he worked for seven years, departing as director of acquisitions and estate management.

At Popeyes UK, Tom will spearhead the sourcing of its first restaurant in London, and thereafter will be responsible for the creation of a rolling programme of acquisitions.

UK CTO David Carey is formerly of The Restaurant Group, where, as digital director he was responsible for brands including Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and more. He will lead on all restaurant and consumer tech, building systems to simplify operations, enable frictionless guest experiences, and understand and analyse guest data.

Neil Williamson joins the fold as UK chief operating officer from Farmstand, where he was also COO. Prior to that, he held senior operations roles within Krispy Kreme UK and McDonald’s Restaurants. Neil will have overall responsibility for the operations and people team, ensuring an ‘extraordinary’ employee proposition that will empower team members to deliver guests an exceptional dining experience.

Tom Crowley brings over 20 years’ experience UK pub, casual dining and QSR brands – more recently, as managing director of Giraffe Concepts and then subsequently as CEO of Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG).

Speaking on the formation of the team, he said: “I’m incredibly proud to reveal this team of talented people who will lead Popeyes® UK as we land with a bang in the UK market. The buzz around our arrival is the envy of every restaurant business, and our proposition is unlike anything else on offer here currently. We’ve assembled exactly the right blend of progressive, forward-thinking minds to bring it to life in a way which will be completely unique for UK guests.

“We’re keen to leave a lasting legacy in the UK communities we’ll be situated in, through an emphasis on responsible, sustainable practices and jobs creation – spanning critical operational roles in construction, supply chain and distribution, as well as providing a direct boost to the UK hospitality sector by hiring talent to prepare and serve our world-famous products.”

Popeyes UK’s ambitious expansion plans will see the brand create hundreds of jobs across the UK and aim to open 350 restaurants over the next 10 years.

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