Boss of salad chain remorseful over nightclub fracas as judge hands down community service

The founder of healthy eating chain Tossed has said he is “remorseful and deeply embarrassed” for his part in a drunken nightclub attack that this week saw him handed a 12-month community order and 250 hours of community service.

Vincent McKevitt, who started the chain 13 years ago and is a passionate advocate of start-up businesses – he recently invested in budding mobile technology platform Thyngs – was ejected from London’s Embargo Republica after being told off for using a fire exit last December.

According to the Evening Standard, the City of London magistrates court heard that one doorman was left with a black eye when McKevitt punched him in the face, while another was hit on the back of the head as he was removed from the club.

Mr McKevitt’s lawyer, Hector MacLean-Watt, told the court last week that the entrepreneur’s diet may have been to blame for the incident.

“He admits he was under the influence of alcohol at the time, but his diet is a form of starvation and lowers alcohol tolerance considerably. It was an uncivilised and deplorable way to behave and is a salutary lesson. He is remorseful and deeply embarrassed by his behaviour that night.”

Described in court as a “successful, driven, conscientious businessman”, the Standard reported that McKevitt had been intending to deny the assault charges but pleaded guilty after seeing damning CCTV footage of the incident.

“It demonstrates to him how drunk he was and portrays him in an unfavourable light”, said Mr MacLean-Watt. “Seeing that video, he says: ‘Gosh, was I that bad?’”

Magistrate Mena Rego sentenced him to a 12-month community order and 250 hours of community service, telling him: “This offence was clearly fuelled by alcohol. The offence was aggravated by the fact you were drunk and the victims provide a service to the public.”

Mr McKevitt was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to each victim, as well as £735 in court costs and fees.

Tossed has grown to 24 UK stores in the last decade after following a strategic growth plan based on rolling out company-owned stores in London and franchise outlets elsewhere. Three years ago it said that its franchise partners have contractually committed to 36 stores by 2019, while it intended to reach the same number of equity stores.

Earlier this year it snapped up rival chain Vital Ingredient, which should add annual sales of £10m to the business and gives it an extra 13 stores in London.

Two years ago Tossed became the UK’s first cashless restaurant group after launching a customer self-service kiosk system that connects directly with its kitchen.

At the time, Mr McKevitt said: “Most operators face speed and capacity issues at lunchtime, but ours are intensified because we make our food fresh-to-order and most guests like to customise their food to suit their health and taste requirements. This unique point-of-sale solution allows our team to focus their energy on our speed of production.”

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