As healthy fast food purveyor Leon announces a £25m investment from Spice Private Equity, I noticed Real Deals highlighted the Company's aim to "rival the ubiquity of McDonald's and KFC".
As a consumer and fan of the Leon offering, I believe this outcome would be a tragedy. Albeit delivering what I suspect would be a healthy return to Spice and its early backer, Active Private Equity, which has retained a shareholding in the business.
I still remember the days when going to Pizza Express was semi-original (although they are fading fast). Now, with over 600 sites internationally, Pizza Express is having to think on its feet in order to continue on its path towards growth. It recently announced the opening of its first motorway service site near Oxford on the M40 in partnership with Welcome Break.
Ubiquity, it seems, breeds innovation. With over 40 sites in Greater London and only a handful elsewhere (including its first international foray in Amsterdam), there's a huge amount of white space for Leon to go at in the UK and internationally. I suspect, therefore, that it will be a long time before we see a Leon opening up in your local Lidl.
Founded in 2004 by John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and chef Allegra McEvedy, Leon now operates 40 sites in London and two in the Netherlands. It focuses on healthy fast food and aims to “rival the ubiquity of McDonalds and KFC”.