Leon (but not the Spinks one)

LEON, perhaps surprisingly, is a brand relatively new to my vocabulary.

LEON products

My introduction to the fast food restaurant chain came during a visit to London and a meeting at King’s Cross railway station.

Before that, Leon would have reminded me of the boxer who shares my surname – along with his brother Michael. As far as I know, no relation.

All I knew about LEON was it was a company offering a better quality, healthier option for those who want fast food.

I vaguely recollect seeing a cookbook on the shelves of a local Waterstones.

And that’s about it.

Only there’s more to it than that.

LEON is not just a chain of restaurants.

LEON is not just about a cookbook or two in a bookshop.

LEON understands diversification and complementary offerings.

I realised this when I saw this inviting display (pictured here) in my local John Lewis store.

Yes, there was the book, centre stage.

And around it an array of other cookery-related products and gift ideas. Plates. Bowls. Side plates. Storage jars. Tea towels. Place mats. Cooler bags. Coasters.

Such a simple business idea.

Core business. Branch out with fresh income streams (books, cookware, tableware).

How can you add something new, fresh and exciting to your business offering?

And LEON is not just about a restaurant or products.

There’s a story behind the story. And the more you dig into it, the STRONGER the brand appeal.

Let’s face it, fast food does not usually have a great reputation. It’s quick and that’s about it. Not particularly good for you.

LEON was set up to be different.

Fast food with a bit of quality. A bit of taste. A more natural, fresh and healthier option.

It was founded by three people in 2004.

John Vincent used to write for Metro newspaper. Interestingly, he’s married to broadcaster Katie Derham. More interestingly, he personally tastes EVERY dish before it goes on the menu. The business is named after his father.

Henry Dimbleby started out as a commis chef, working with Michelin-starred chef Bruno Loubet. If the name sounds familiar, Henry is the son of journalist and broadcaster David Dimbleby. A columnist and cookery writer, Henry also co-founded London Union, which turns old parts of the capital into buzzing street food night markets.

The third founder is Allegra McEvedy, a professional chef, broadcaster and cookery writer.

In 2013, John and Henry created the School Food plan. It has seen the introduction of cookery lessons for all children up to the age of 14, universal free school meals for infants, and new standards for food served to children in schools.

All of this forms part of the back story to LEON.

What is YOUR back story – and how can you use it to build your brand?

LEON is now an established brand.

LEON saw a gap in the market. It positions itself as a different kind of player in the market – with a focus on fresh, natural and quality fast food.

LEON has people with passion behind it.

LEON has diversified its range of offerings.

LEON is about more than selling food and drink. It has a mission. It has clear values. It has a drive to create social change and make the world, in some way, a better place.

The marketing job at the company must be one of the easiest (and rewarding) jobs out there.

How’s your promotional plan shaping up?

If you need some help with your message, positioning in the market or just getting greater visibility… you know where to find me.


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