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Mon 9th May 2016 - Leon reports 7.8% rise in like-for-likes, Ebitda jumps 46%, increases staff benefits
Leon reports 7.8% rise in like-for-likes, Ebitda jumps 46%, increases staff benefits: Natural fast food brand Leon has reported a 7.8% increase in like-for-likes for the year ending December 2015. The company also saw Ebitda jump 46% to £2.26m, compared with £1.55m the previous year and co-founder John Vincent has thanked his team by increasing staff benefits. Leon opened 12 new sites during the year, creating 235 jobs, and now has 35 outlets in total. The company, which was founded in 2004 by Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, introduced the National Living Wage in January, three months before the legislation required, and to all staff regardless of age. Leon said the cost had not been passed on to customers and had in fact increased its range available at £5 or under. In the first quarter of 2016, the company has also increased team benefits. Team members still get free meals while on shift, get paid breaks, and have staff discounts. It has introduced a 60% team member (plus four guests) discount on food outside of shift time. As part of the company’s wellbeing project, it has run a trial in training baristas in the martial art of Wing Tsun, which it said had resulted in stress levels dropping and coffee making getting faster. Leon is now thinking about how it can replicate the initiative for other staff as a commitment to their wellbeing. There have also been massages for weekend workers from the Leon “Well Being Warrior” and mindfulness classes for all store managers. This is on top of two annual wellbeing events for managers each year, lasting two days and led by a range of health and wellbeing practitioners. It has also introduced a new “Power of Plants” spring menu, with two new salads (kean bean and courgetti and kale) from a forthcoming Leon “Happy Salads” book, and new Sicilian-inspired meatballs with a fresh pesto sauce. Thanking his 600-strong team, Vincent credited the chain’s success to continued innovation and team commitment. He said: “Every year Leon just grows bigger and stronger. To add 7.8% like-for-like sales to last year’s 23% is a testament to the Leon team. We want everyone to eat well and be well, and we start with our own team members, who are like family to us. That is why we have maintained benefits like free meals, paid breaks and, in addition, significantly increased the discount on meals when not on shift. In 2015 we continued to grow but never lost sight of what we do best – innovate and provide naturally fast food. Last year we developed a number of new items like a dairy-free chocolate shake, our own date and cinnamon butter and a Brazilian black bean stew. We also reduced the sugar in our still lemonade by 20%. It will always be the Leon mission to serve food that is both good and good for you.” Leon will also open in Europe for the first time this summer, and has picked Schiphol airport in Amsterdam as its first site. Vincent added: “At Leon we have always seen fast food as an international business and (like McDonalds back in 1971) have picked Amsterdam as the launch site for our European journey. I spent most of my childhood holidays in Holland so I’m very happy to be going back and reliving those happy memories. The Dutch are almost as funny as the English so we’ll have to keep our jokes as fresh as our food.”

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