Leon starts regional expansion drive

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

(L-R): Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent founded Leon in 2004 with a site in Carnaby Street
(L-R): Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent founded Leon in 2004 with a site in Carnaby Street
Leon, the healthy fast food chain led by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, has embarked on its expansion drive outside London, with an opening of a site at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone and restated that it could grow to over 100 units across the UK.

Dimbleby, who said that finding private-equity backing for the group 'wasn’t a priority', told our sister publication M&C Report​ that the group would look to open units across a number of formats – high-footfall office-based locations, transports locations, shopping malls and high street sites.

He said: “This gives us a number of options and means that we can conceivably go further than 100 units here. I can see Leon sites in high streets in say Glasgow, Birmingham and Chiswick High Road.”

The Folkstone restaurant, which is Leon’s third franchise location with partners Autogrill Group, will be one of four new sites the group plans to open outside London this year – outlets in East Midlands Airport and the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow will open before the summer.

Doubling up

The latest opening takes Leon’s estate to 15. The group plans to double in size by the end of the year,​ by then a third of its sites will be outside London. Leon has this month opened the first of a planned twelve sites over the next year as the restaurant chain looks to 'create fast food as it might be in heaven'.

The Folkstone site is the third recent opening from the company, following the launch of units at More London Place and Victoria Street in London at the end of last year.

Vincent said: “We serve naturally fast food because we want to make it easy for everyone to eat well. For 10 years we’ve done that for people in Central London. It’s time we helped travellers and families at the Eurotunnel and Heathrow Terminal 2 do the same.”

The new site will be open from 5am to 11pm at peak times, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also features a play area for children with a train for girls and a vegetable stall and kitchen area for boys.

This story was first published by M&C Report. To subscribe, contact Emily Croft on 01293 846578 or email emily.croft@wrbm.com. 

Related topics: Restaurants, Venues, Business

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