German Doner Kebab announced the appointment of Nigel Belton as its managing director for North America.

Nigel Belton joins GDK following periods in South Africa and the Middle East with Yum Brands, where he held senior executive positions with KFC and Pizza Hut.

Before emigrating to the US in 2015 he was CEO for KFC Pakistan where he was instrumental in turning the business around and laying the foundation for future growth.

Nigel Belton has been consulting for GDK for the past two years and joins as the brand gets set to embark on a period of major growth across North America.

Franchises have been signed in Canada’s Ontario and British Columbia provinces and negotiations are underway to open outlets in New York’s Manhattan and New Jersey in the USA. The brand expects five stores to be opened in 2019.

Most recently the brand has also announced a partnership with one of the USA’s most successful franchise entrepreneurs.

Texas-based Tanweer Ahmed has signed a development agreement for an initial 12 GDK outlets in Houston, Dallas and Las Vegas, which will be rolled-out over the next two years.

The partnership with German Doner Kebab further grows Mr Ahmed’s portfolio, which includes 153 KFC outlets, 58 Pizza Huts and 24 Taco Bells.

GDK is part of the Hero Brands fast casual portfolio and currently operates stores in the UK, Sweden, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain.

Global CEO, Imran Sayeed, says: “North America offers a huge opportunity for GDK and we are confident that the franchising experience and business acumen that Nigel offers will pave the way for success and a solid foundation for years to come.”

Nigel Belton, managing director for GDK North America, says: “I am excited about this opportunity as GDK is a differentiator through its food, offering high quality product, mouth-watering taste, and a unique dining experience.

“GDK is a game changer within the Mediterranean restaurant sector and I have no doubt that consumers in North America will love the experience and food.”

“We have plenty of work to do as we build the local team and are fortunate to have a strong support base out of the UK,” he adds.

The North American growth plans follows news that the brand is embarking on plans to expand into Saudi Arabia. The Ajlan and Brothers Group has been signed-up as the master franchisee, with a development agreement of 100 stores over the next ten years.

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