Fast casual eatery chain, Leon has unveiled a new growth strategy centred on plans to more than double the pace of its store rollout programme, with more than 50 restaurants to be opened in this year creating 1,000 jobs, and 4,000 jobs over the next three years.
Earlier in 2021, following the acquisition of Leon by EG Group, the business announced plans to open 20 restaurants over 2022.
However, after the strong success of newly opened restaurants, including Leon’s first Drive-Thru in West Yorkshire and new sites in Asda Milton Keynes and Asda Holtspur in Beaconsfield, the firm is to upscale its UK expansion.
New restaurants will include both traditional and new formats such as Drive-Thrus; smaller restaurants on petrol forecourts and Asda premises; and Leon To Go coffee outlets.
This expansion will be focused on supporting Leon’s regional growth, and the brand will for the first time be expanding its footprint across the whole of the country, with openings planned in both Scotland and Wales set for early this year.
Additionally, Leon will expand internationally into the Netherlands with its own restaurants, with the first site due to be opened in Honswijk, on one of the top five busiest motorways in the country. This will be followed by c.10 further openings in the country in advance of a wider European expansion programme.
The restaurants expansion programme will be accompanied by additional investment into digital platforms across Leon sites. This will include new digital kiosks and menu screens, engaging customers more effectively. Further technology investments will be focused on enabling customers to order remotely without a queue, whether that is in the comfort of a restaurant, in a car, or at home.
Further investment will be directed into the expansion of the brand's grocery products, and Leonhe at Home.
Glenn Edwards, Managing Director of Leon, said, “We are very excited to announce a significant acceleration of Leon’s expansion. For the first time we will be taking LEON across the country, driving regional growth at speed. The new formats in this rollout will build on our traditional restaurants and form a base for further growth.
“Making Leon even more accessible is at the heart of this strategic expansion. We are absolutely focused on delivering for our clients and living up to LEON’s mission - making it easier for everybody to eat well, live well and be kind to the planet.”
Mohsin Issa CBE and Zuber Issa CBE, co-founders and co-CEOs, EG Group, said, “When EG Group purchased Leon, we saw a great brand with substantial potential for growth. We’re pleased that the business is now set to deliver on that promise, both in the UK and Europe.
'Our investment in Leon, coupled with EG’s unparalleled operational excellence in foodservice operations, is unlocking considerable value and will help to deliver significant future growth and continue the diversification of EG’s business.”