Popeyes UK has announced its senior team ahead of its first restaurant opening in autumn 2021.

The new hires are Tom Byng as chief development officer; David Carey as chief technology officer, and Neil Williamson as chief operating officer. A UK CMO and head of people are expected to be appointed imminently.

Tom Byng, not to be confused with the Byron founder and Flat Iron CEO, joins from Fulham Shore, owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek, where he has helped grow the group to more than 70 sites in five years. He also played a key role in the expansion of Itsu in the UK, where he worked for seven years, as director of acquisitions and estate management. At Popeyes UK, Byng will spearhead the sourcing of its first restaurant in London, and be responsible for the rolling programme of acquisitions.

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. He will also oversee the creation and rollout of Popeyes UK’s dedicated app, which will have its own delivery service from which guests can order directly.

Neil Williamson joins from Farmstand, where he was also COO. Prior to that, he held senior operations roles at Krispy Kreme UK and McDonald’s. He will have overall responsibility for the operations and people team.

Tom Crowley, formerly CEO of Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), 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 aim to open 350 restaurants over the next 10 years.