In an episode of BBC’s "The Boss," which profiles business leaders, the “secret” of fast food desire was revealed, and it offers some insight for grocerants.
John Vincent, CEO of Leon, a 70-unit restaurant chain that operates in the U.K., Europe and has three restaurants in the U.S., promotes itself as “naturally fast food.”
What does that mean? Lion’s vision statement reads:
“There is something magical about fast food. As children, we considered fast food the biggest treat imaginable. But then we grew up and realized that most fast food doesn't make you feel good or help you live well. So we asked ourselves: Why can't fast food be good food?” Vincent goes on to write that he and his friend Henry Dimbleby “opened Leon with our friend and chef Allegra McEvedy, because we wanted to prove that it was possible to serve food that both tastes good and does you good.”
Their thought process was, as Vincent says, "if we could make good food as emotionally addictive as traditional fast food, which was good for you and kind to the planet, I thought it could be a fun business to run." Their pitch for Leon—the restaurant is named after his dad—was, "What if God did fast food? or "What if fast food was in heaven?"
Take a look at their website, and when you click on the menus, you can select your food preferences—vegan, gut health, gluten-free, under 500 calorie meals and the like—and you’ll find fast foods that range from gluten-free chicken nuggets to burgers of all types to Moroccan Meatballs Hot Box and, of course, baked fries.
It’s a smart concept and one that grocerants should check out and emulate. Check out Leon at 1724 L St. NW in Washington, D.C.