Leon pulls out of US market after pandemic takes its toll

23 March 2021 by
Leon pulls out of US market after pandemic takes its toll

‘Naturally fast food' chain Leon has closed its Stateside restaurants in Washington DC and Virginia as the pandemic has "taken its toll" on the company's finances.

The group said it will instead be focusing on its UK and Europe sites. However, Leon said it hoped to revisit a US expansion in the future.

A post on the group's US website said: "We have loved our time in DC & Virginia and will be forever grateful for the welcome you gave us.

"The continuing pandemic has taken its toll, as it has on everybody. We're saying goodbye for now to focus on Leon in the UK and Europe, where our journey to create better fast food began 17 years ago. We hope to be back in the future."

Leon opened its first US location in Washington DC in 2018. It opened a fourth restaurant in Virginia last year and had planned to open 15 stores in the US by the end of 2020 had it not been for the impact of Covid-19 on the global hospitality industry.

The healthy fast food chain launched a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last year to restructure the firm's finances after the pandemic hit trading, with creditors agreeing to turnover-based rents.

The restaurant chain was founded in 2004 and had expanded rapidly to operate 75 sites globally, both owned and franchised. The company-owned restaurants in the UK total 44, in prime locations and transport hubs, predominantly across central London.

Leon is backed by two principal investors, GP Investments and Active Private Equity. The company was launched by chief executive John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and chef Allegra McEvedy on London's Carnaby Street.

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