Nick Ayerst, Chief Executive Officer
Mr Ayerst has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and was previously Managing Director of LEON, a leading UK healthy fast-food chain, where he updated LEON’s operational model, investing in technology and increasing efficiencies and to develop growth strategies including LEON’s Drive-Thru model and franchising partnerships.
Prior to his role at LEON, Mr Ayerst spent 15 years in leadership roles at The Restaurant Group, the UK’s largest listed restaurant company, where he was a member of the TRG Executive team. Between 2013 and 2020, Mr Ayerst was Managing Director of TRG Concessions, which operates restaurants, bars and QSR outlets in airports, stations, shopping centres and Hilton Hotels, where he implemented short- and long-term growth opportunities, more than doubling revenue and profit, and oversaw the opening of 45 new sites.
Mr Ayerst is responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the Group.
Tony Kitous, Founder and Creative Director
Mr Kitous opened his first restaurant 23 years ago and has been widely recognised for making Lebanese and Middle Eastern food accessible on the high street within the UK. Mr Kitous has featured on various television shows explaining and demonstrating his passion for Lebanese and Middle Eastern food. Mr Kitous has released several cookbooks in the UK and internationally. Mr Kitous is responsible for all design and creative aspects of the Group.
Michael Toon, Finance Director
Michael is a seasoned F&B Finance Director having worked in the industry for over 20 years. Mr Toon has held similar roles at Chopstix where he oversaw the rapid expansion of the country’s largest Asian QSR provider and the Big Table Group (formerly the Casual Dining Group) holding a variety of roles across all financial disciplines and was part of the large-scale expansion of the company through organic growth as well as brand purchase, before joining Comptoir Group Plc as Finance Director in October 2020. Mr Toon is responsible for all the financial, procurement and systems governance within the Group.
Beatrice Lafon, Non-Executive Chairman
Ms Lafon has operated at CEO level for nearly 20 years and as a non-executive director for 6 years. She has an outstanding record in the launch, turnaround and profitable development of major retail businesses in the UK, Europe and the USA. Previously a non-executive director of Pizza Express and SuperDry, she chairs a number of businesses in the UK and Europe, including Crosstown.
Jean-Michel Orieux, Non-Executive Director
Mr Orieux has deep expertise in the consumer and hospitality sectors. He was formerly CEO of Ping Pong, where he formulated and implemented a turnaround and brand strategy to drive international expansion. He became CEO of Paul UK and USA in 2013 before joining the Board in 2018. As CEO, he led the Argyll Club through a review of its core proposition, strategy and performance.