Leon Restaurants

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GenreFast food
FounderJohn Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy
United Kingdom
Number of locations
53 (2017)
Area served
United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United States
Leon, Kings Cross Station, London

Leon is a fast food restaurant chain based in the United Kingdom, founded in 2004.


Leon was founded by John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby with chef Allegra McEvedy.[1][2][3][4] The business was named after Vincent's father, Leon[5][2][6] and opened its first outlet in Carnaby Street in 2004.[7][8] Six months after opening, Leon was named the "Best New Restaurant in Great Britain" at The Observer Food Monthly Awards.[6] In March 2009, McEvedy gave up her role at Leon to focus on writing and television work, but remains a shareholder. In 2014, John Vincent took over from Henry Dimbleby as CEO and Dimbleby then left the board in 2017. He also remains a shareholder.


As of September 2018, Leon had 57 restaurants[9] and in June 2016 the first Leon outside England opened in Amsterdam.[10] Other international openings followed including Utrecht, Oslo, Gran Canaria and Leon's first restaurant in the US, in Washington D.C.[11]

In 2015, HMSHost operated six Leon locations in airports and railway stations in southern England and Leon announced an expansion of its relationship with HMSHost in 2018 including a franchise agreement in airports and railway stations across Europe and the Middle East.[12][13][14] By establishing this presence, the company hoped to reach an international audience, and help create demand ahead of further overseas openings.[15] [16]

Leon has published seven cookbooks which are marketed in Germany, the UK and the United States as well as developing a cookware and tableware line with John Lewis stores.[17] [18]

Leon has won various awards for innovation and sustainability in recent years. In 2017, it became a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and won Raymond Blanc's Sustainability Hero award at the Association's ‘Food Made Good’ awards. The chain was also named in the 2017 Sunday Times Fast Track 100. It has also been named Best Quick Service Restaurant, is the recipient of the People Award for Employee Engagement and the Responsible Capitalism Award.[6]

Leon is backed by Active Private Equity and in May 2017 Spice Private Equity became a major investor to support further global expansion plans.


  1. ^ Evans, Simon (16 August 2009). "Henry Dimbleby: nine restaurants and growing". The Independent. London. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "John Vincent, co-founder, Leon Restaurants". Marketing. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  3. ^ Bordell, Tom; Jaffer, Mehdi. "If God owned McDonald's..." London: The Gateway. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Food chefs: Allegra McEvedy". London: BBC. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  5. ^ Evans, Simon (16 August 2009). "Henry Dimbleby: nine restaurants and growing". The Independent. London. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Nielsen, Tina (July 2008). "Profile: Leon". Director magazine. London. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  7. ^ Restaurants, Leon. "Vision". Leonrestaurants.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  8. ^ Scott-Moncrieff, Chloe (22 January 2006). "Fast food needn't be junk food". The Independent. London. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  9. ^ "Restaurants – Leon Restaurants". Leonrestaurants.co.uk. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Healthy fast food chain Leon reveals profit leap – and its secret martial arts experiment". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Leon aims to help US 'fall back in love' with fast food". Evening Standard. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  12. ^ Restaurants, Leon. "HMS". Leonrestaurants.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  13. ^ Central & East News. "Leon Lands at Stansted". insidermedia.com. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  14. ^ Lysecki, Sarah. "HMSHost wins Eurotunnel and East Midlands Airport concessions". Moodiereport.com. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  15. ^ Burn-Callander, Rebecca. "Leon eyes US expansion". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  16. ^ "LEON launches flagship restaurant in Gran Canaria Airport". QSRMedia UK. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  17. ^ "English restaurateurs share ideas for healthy cooking in 'Leon: Naturally Fast Food'". 17 October 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  18. ^ "LEON - John Lewis & Partners". www.johnlewis.com. Retrieved 12 February 2019.

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