Coronavirus: Fast food chain Leon turns restaurants into shops

The change will come to effect from 25 March onwards

49w ago

From 25 March onwards, fast food chain Leon will be turning its 65 UK restaurants into shops – selling ready meals, sauces and other foods that can be stored and eaten at home.

Leon meals are usually served in takeaway cardboard boxes, but from Wednesday they will come packaged in ready meal-style pouches that can be refrigerated (or frozen) and reheated.

John Vincent, founder and chief executive of Leon, explained since around half our meals are eaten at work or school, the closure of restaurants has forced supermarkets to operate at 130% of capacity – as opposed to the normal 50%.

In addition to dealing with increased demand due to stockpiling, supermarkets are also now being relied upon to pick up the demand that would have been dealt with by restaurants, cafés, school dinners and fast food chains.

Mr Vincent told the BBC, "There are two engines to food supply in the UK. The first is the supermarkets and the second is the restaurant trade. The two are fairly independent of each other.”

He said he hopes the move won’t just save the restaurant chain from going under, but that it will also help food producers and suppliers facing ruin.

He added, "A lot of people in the industry are just giving up and shutting up shop. But we think this way we can keep 60% of our stores open and keep food production going."

In a tweet shared on Saturday morning, a spokesperson for Leon outlined the chain's three main current objectives: ensuring customers have access to Leon food, helping the NHS and the vulnerable, and keeping both Leon and the food industry alive.

Leon is currently offering 50% discounts to NHS staff and offering them free delivery where possible.

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