Joel Falconer, who stepped down from Busaba Eathai earlier this summer, has joined Iberica, the seven-strong Spanish restaurant group, as its new managing director, MCA understands.

Falconer stepped down as managing director of the Jason Myers-led, Phoenix Equity Partners-backed group, after 14 years with the company.

Initially joining the company as an assistant restaurant manager, Falconer worked his way up through the ranks and was previously the group’s development director, before stepping up to managing director last year.

He replaces Alex Rojas, former business development director at Gaucho, who joined Iberica as its managing director last year.

Falconer joins Iberica as it gears up to launch its eighth site next year in London’s Covent Garden.

The company, which is led by chief executive Marcos Fernendez Pardo, has secured the site at 19-21 Great Queen Street for what will be its next opening.

Talking to MCA last month, Fernendez Pardo said the company would open a site in Bristol in 2019, by the river near Casamia restaurant.

Bristol will follow the opening of the group’s site in Covent Garden, which will be a smaller footprint model similar to Farringdon of c4,000 sq ft.

The return to growth follows a pause in 2016 during which time Fernandez Pardo said the group had taken stock of its estate, and worked to improve in areas such as staff retention by promoting from within for example.