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Leon plans US expansion after £25m investment

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Leon plans US expansion after £25m investment

Fast casual restaurant group Leon plans to open its first restaurants in the US in the second half of this year after a £25m investment in the business.

The business announced that Spice, a company controlled by GP Investments, chaired by the Brazilian entrepreneur Fersen Lambranho, had agreed to take a significant minority stake to help fund growth.

Spice is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange and is controlled and managed by GP Investments, a publicly held company, focused on alternative investments, with an important presence in Latin America.

The investment will help Leon to continue to expand in the UK and open its first restaurants in the US in the second half of this year. Leon currently has 46 restaurants in the UK with two in the Netherlands.

John Vincent, CEO and co-founder of Leon said: “To be successful Leon needs the right purpose, the right leaders and the right investors. To become the world’s leading naturally fast-food company we need partners who share the vision and can help make it happen. We are fortunate to have been approached by many potential partners. The decision to say yes to Spice was because of the high regard I have for the individuals of GP Investments, who manage Spice. I am also delighted that Active, our existing investor who has been so helpful to our growth, is participating in this fundraising too.”

Fersen Lambranho added: “Leon is a disruptive fast-food model that was born in the UK but has an immense potential to become global. We see Leon as an opportunity to replicate the great success of its former investment, Fogo de Chão, a Brazilian steakhouse that expanded into the US and is now listed on the NASDAQ.”

Restaurateurs appeal to PM to ease business burden on hospitality >>

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