POWER LIST 2017, BUSINESS LEADERS: John Upton, Managing Director, Leon


With a focus on seasonal, fresh and natural ingredients, highly successful grab-and-go chain Leon Restaurants has emphatically proved that fast food doesn’t have to be bad food.

Managing director John Upton is certainly a convert having joined the business from McDonald’s and he is using his expertise of the quick-service environment to further the group’s ambitions of reaching 100 sites within the next three years. John Upton portrait

John is under no illusions that the kitchen is the engine room of the business and if you get that right then the magic is able to happen on the front counter.

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Leon operates a fairly straightforward, ergonomic layout, with Rational ovens cited at the back of the kitchen alongside areas for preparation.

“It is all prepared in an ergonomic straight line, placed into the holding area and then served,” explains John. “In terms of principles, we are using a very linear ‘as-few-steps-as-possible’ approach to the kitchen and therefore we’re able to sell and prepare a lot of tasty food really quickly. We use our Rational ovens to help bake our fries because we don’t fry anything.”

Leon continues to refine kitchen ergonomics to make it easier for staff to do their jobs.

“It can be tough working in a kitchen so the more that we can do to make it easier for our people the better,” says John.


Company: Leon
Address: St. Margaret’s House, 18-20 Southwark Street, 4th floor, London, SE1 1TJ
Tel: 020 7089 7070
Twitter: @leonrestaurants
Focus: Healthy fast food

The 2017 FEJ Power List is supported by Category Sponsor Viessmann. For more details click HERE

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Andrew Seymour

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