Leon bags £25m investment for overseas expansion

Leon

Healthy fast-food chain Leon has secured a £25m cash boost from Swiss investors which it will use to expand into international markets.

The investment came from Spice Private Equity and will help to company to build on its international portfolio which already includes two stores in the Netherlands.

Now, co-founder John Vincent has indicated that he wants to start rolling out sites in the US. There are plans to open two restaurants in Washington DC next year.

Fersen Lambranho, a Spice board member, said Leon had “immense potential” to become a global business, but Vincent maintains that the brand will proceed with caution.

Leon Restaurants co-founders John Vincent (left) and Henry Dimbleby (right) talk to children in the canteen of Sacred Heart Primary RC School, on July 02, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. For more information about using this image contact Micha Theiner: T: +44 (0) 7525 627 491 E: micha@michatheiner.com http:///www.michatheiner.com

Leon Restaurants co-founder John Vincent

“The principle is to fire bullets, then cannon balls. No one from the UK goes to America and sees it as an easy ride. Just because we speak the same language doesn’t mean to say we have the same culture. We’ll learn so much and make tonnes of mistakes,” Vincent told The Evening Standard.

Meanwhile, Lambranho said: “We see Leon as an opportunity to replicate the great success of a former investment, Fogo de Chão, a Brazilian steakhouse that expanded into the US and is now listed on the Nasdaq.”

Leon’s revenues rose almost 50pc in 2015 to £37m and profits were £2.26m. The brand has managed to attract industry heavyweights to help it develop. John Upton from McDonald’s and Gemma Kearney, formerly of Pizza Express both now work for Leon.

CLICK HERE to read FEJ’s conversation on kitchen models with John Upton.

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