Ajith Jayawickrema Founder of Turtle Bay

Ajith Jayawickrema is a founder, shareholder and non-executive director of a number of restaurants located nationwide. His expertise lies in brand creation and development, as well as strategic business and people development.
He has created two national restaurant brands, Las Iguanas and Turtle Bay.

Ajith is the founder of Las Iguanas, a Latin American casual dining restaurant. He opened the first Las Iguanas with a £10,000 bank loan and grew the business to a valuation of £27m when it was refinanced in 2007 by Bowmark. Las Iguanas currently has 35 sites across the country and is continually growing.

Whilst at Las Iguanas, he successfully concluded three venture capital deals with 3i, Piper Private Equity and Bowmark Capital.

In 2010, Ajith founded Turtle Bay, a Caribbean casual dining restaurant. Turtle Bay is a fast-growing chain of restaurants, offering authentic food and drinks inspired by the islands’ vibrant culture. Turtle Bay currently has 5 sites in various locations throughout the UK.

He is also a Non-Executive Director of Tampopo Restaurants, where he works closely with the founders Nick Jeffries and David Fox, to grow this business of six fast-casual chain of restaurants.

In 2009, he joined Aqua Italia Restaurants as a Non-Executive Director. This upmarket Italian Restaurant has currently 4 sites in the South West, and an additional recently opened venue in Milton Keynes.

He recently joined the Grillstock team as an Investor/Director. Grillstock was a barbecue festival business and Ajith helped to create their first restaurant offering.