Waitrose has drafted in its first ever director of foodservice as the upmarket grocer continues its push to adapt to changing consumer habits.

The supermarket chain has poached InterContinental Hotels vice-president of restaurants and bars, Simon Burdess, to take on the role.

Burdess, who was previously commercial director at Fortnum & Mason and held a number of commercial roles at Marks & Spencer, will join Waitrose in September.

The appointment comes as Waitrose presses ahead with its strategy to develop its casual dining and grazing proposition in branches – a plan that Burdess will be charged with spearheading.

Waitrose launched a wine bar at its King’s Cross branch when it opened in 2015 and is rolling out The Kitchen, a foodservice counter that offers customers meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all cooked in store.

In an exclusive interview with Retail Week last December, Waitrose managing director Rob Collins dubbed the new counter “the biggie” in its new store format.

Collins said that The Kitchen was central to his drive to “create something that is a convenient pleasure for people.”

On Burdess’ appointment, Waitrose retail director Ben Stimson said: “We want our shops to be places where customers will feel excited by and inspired by food and evolving our food service offer is vital in achieving this.

“Simon brings a wealth of experience which will be invaluable in ensuring our hospitality makes our shops dynamic and vibrant places to visit.”