John Vincent MBE
Imagine fast food in heaven – LEON started a food revolution when it showed there was no reason why fast food couldn’t be fresh and full of flavour.
John Vincent set up LEON in 2004 alongside Henry Dimbleby and chef Allegra McEvedy, with the mission to help everyone eat and live well. Their vision was to do this in every major city in the world – they currently have more than 35 stores across the UK and are poised to open their first in Europe in the summer of 2016.
However, they are committed to more than just their own expansion: LEON is a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which exists to help restaurants become more sustainable in the way they source their ingredients, engage with their local community and manage their impact on the environment.
And, for their children’s menu, the pair follow the Children’s Food Trust guidelines to help create balanced and nutritious meals, keeping sugar, salt and saturated fat to a minimum.
John and Henry also advised the coalition government on school meals, and created the biggest shake up of school food for a generation. They got cooking back on the curriculum, introduced new standards for school food and secured free school meals for all infants. They also set up the LEON Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation with the aim to make it easier for everyone to eat good food. The Foundation’s ‘Cook5’ competition was created to encourage children to learn how to cook five savoury dishes before their 16th birthday.
As LEON CEO John believes these projects feed the energy of the business. He recently commented that the purpose of business should be to make the lives of humans and the health of the planet better, and that it should do that by being financially sustainable. Not the other way around.